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'Performance: Richard Avedon'

Performance: Richard Avedon, Hardcover, 304 pages, 13 x 10.5 x 1.6 inches, 5.6 pounds, Abrams, list price: $75.00

It's easy to see why the great photographer liberated certain sitters in this collection from the rigor of his trademark format. The energy of so many of the artists he adored could barely be contained by a stage or a screen, let alone a plain white background and black frame. Handfuls of images in the aptly named Performance have been scattered across essential Avedon monographs of the past. But gathered here and paired with hundreds of other indelible pictures, the cumulative electricity and force of Capote, Streisand, Nureyev, Garland, Hepburn (both), Monroe, Grant, Bardot, etc., is positively overwhelming.

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