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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 27, 2000)
Ritts photos hill of
PARIS (AP) - You could say Herb
Ritts has it easy. The celebrity photogra
pher’s address book would make most
society hostesses weep with envy.
Although his pictures helped defme
the image-conscious ’80s and ’90s, his
lens is more than a peephole into a
world ofbig names and egos. It also dis
torts celebrities, sometimes stripping
them of their mystique and turning die
famous into the unfamiliar.
An exhibition of Ritts’ work - his
first in Paris - is on view at the
Fondation Cartier until March. Some
15,000 people have seen the show since
it opened in December.
Chance and connections propelled
Ritts into the world of celebrity photog
raphy in the ’70s. He got to know
Richard Gere through someone who
was dating the actor at the time.
A drive in the desert led to a flat tire
and an impromptu photo session in a
The result? A photo of a steamy
Gere in a white vest, his arms over his
head and a cigarette dangling from his
“I can’t remember whether I told
Richard to put his arms over his head or
whether I just clicked when he
stretched. And he really smoked a lot.
He was like that, a handsome kid and
very sexy,” die Los Angeles-based pho
tographer told Francois Quintin, associ
ate curator at Fondation Cartier, in an
interview for the show’s catalog.
At the time, Gere was an unknown.
A year later he was a star, and Ritts ’ pho
tos were being used as publicity shots.
His access to celebrities, even at
their most fragile moments, gives Ritts
an edge. He has photographed
Christopher Reeve, wired up and
immobile in a high-tech wheelchair. In
another photograph, Elizabeth Taylor is
sporting a crew cut and die scar result
ing from her brain surgery. • < - H
Ritts sometimes uses die camera to
distort. Michelle Pfeiffer is posed as
Cary, Grant, almost unrecognizable
with slicked-back black hair and sar
donic smile. Glenn Close is pho
Ritts is not
in a direct,
manner, but in a
associate curator at Fondation Cartier
tographed in heavy stage makeup for
her role in “Sunset Boulevard.”
Demi Moore, shot with shaved head
buried in outstretched arms, could be
ihe 1UU black-and-white pho
tographs on display include Madonna
on the cover of her 1986 “True Blue”
album; jazz great Dizzy Gillespie with
exaggerated cheeks; and “Fred With
Tires,” a 1984photo of ahunky, muscle
bound man lugging heavy tires.
“Ritts is not someone who attacks
subjects in a direct, aggressive manner,
but in a very glam, sugared manner. He
deals with fundamental problems,”
Supermodel Naomi Campbell is
posed as a traditional pinup, her head
coquettishly turned, legs outstretched.
“We look at her and are happy and
forget that black women were never pin
ups,” Quintin said. “In taking this photo,
Ritts is very conscious of die fact that he
is creating an image that has virtually no
Picasso name paints new autos
■ Director of Picasso
Museum Criticizes selling
the name of the artist.
PARIS (AP) - Pots and pans in
China, underwear in Southeast Asia,
trucks in Chile, and now, a car from
France. Hard to believe they’re all
In name only, of course. The
Paris-based Picasso Estate, which
represents the artist’s heirs, spends
millions yearly fighting the illicit
use of what is arguably the most
famous name in 20th century art.
Which is why many French were
shocked when the estate gave its
blessing - for a price it refused to
reveal - to the new Citroen Xsara
Picasso, a snappy, high-sitting town
car billed as practical and fun to
Putting the name to the car “is a
strategic decision designed to pre
vent other companies from stealing
the name and using it,” said Claudia
Andrieu, the Picasso Estate’s legal
“It’s the family’s approach to bat
tling fakes,” she said in a telephone
interview. “A do-nothing attitude
leads to exploitation.”
Some purists, however, are horri
fied by what they see as crass com
“Assimilating genius with a
mass-produced consumer item is
scandalous,” wrote Picasso Museum
director Jean Clair in the daily
Clair said he was offended by
Citroen’s latest ad campaign, which
depicts a tough-looking museum
guard restraining a visitor from
touching a nude bather in Picasso’s
“Figures au bord de la Mer” (Figures
At the Shore).
The visitor then is presented a
Picasso he can touch - the new
Clair said the ad ridiculed the
Picasso Museum, belittling the
guards as they try to protect its price
less collection of Picasso master
Comparing the museum employ
ees’ meager salaries to the hefty roy
alties earned by Picasso’s heirs, he
went on to question the family’s
motives for “selling their father’s
name even though their fortune
appears to have sheltered them from
The Picasso Estate represents the
interests of Claude and Paloma
Picasso, the children of Francoise
Gilot; Maya Picasso, the daughter of
Marie-Therese Walter; and grand
children Marina and Bernard
Picasso, bom to the artist’s son, Paul.
Andrieu said the family was not
offended by the ad and stood by its
partnership with Citroen.
About 15 companies manufac
turing products, including candles
and lighters, have bought the rights
to the name, but thousands more use
it illegally, Andrieu said.
“There are underwear and inflat
able dolls in Southeast Asia, trucks
and spare parts in Chile, mobile
homes in Britain and thousands of
products in China alone,” she said.
She said the family, with the
notable exception of designer
Paloma, who has developed her own
line of beauty products and home
furnishings, had no intention of turn
ing Picasso into a brand name.
Andrieu said the family chose to
work with Citroen because of the
company’s long-standing image of
excellence in design.
“We’re better off with a partner
of our choice where we have a say in
things,” she said.
Citroen says polls showed that
people associated “creativity, inven
tion and modernity” with Picasso.
“Our polls show that name
Career Services Snapshot
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recognition for Picasso is enormous,
and that’s what we wanted in launch
ing the new model around the
world,” said Citroen spokesman
The new Xsara Picasso also is
more affordable than the real thing.
Models cost between $19,600
_ shampoo: $3 extra a
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