The Urbaanite Meets Irving Penn at The Frist



Thoughts by Jasmine Hockett  | Irving Penn Exhibit Images Provided by The Frist Center for the Visual Arts | Photography by Life on Forty West


An Urbaanite Collaboration with  frist-logo-teal


It is purely exhilarating to explore the world through the art of imagery.  After all, isn’t that why most of us enjoy spending hours upon hours sifting through our social media streams.  Being able to experience a multitude of livelihoods through these social mediums gives us more gratitude than we know!  It’s that same feeling that we felt growing up when we just couldn’t wait to head to the Children’s museum or the zoo!  In retrospect, it’s the imitation of real life that appeases our yearnings of curiosity and elicits excitement!  World renowned Vogue photographer, Irving Penn’s Beyond Beauty exhibition is one that will have you wondering through the halls as an aspiring paparazzi!  Unfortunately, his work is so sacred, you can’t take pictures! You just have to go! You have to see it.


Irving Penn. Sitting Enga Woman, New Guinea, 1970, printed 1986. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist. © The Irving Penn Foundation

With over 60+ years of work photographic masterpieces under his belt, Irving Penn presented photography from a plethora of lifestyles.  He shot well-known portraits of Robin Williams, Leontyne Price and Truman Capote. Penn seemed to have a yearning for digging deep into the pureness of each one of his subjects. Black and white photography is a noticeable comfort for him  intertwined with magnificent works of vibrant color and an array of fashion photographs that continue to live on for the ages.  Taking a walk through this timeless exhibit should be on your weekday or weekend to-do list.  It is that invigorating and inspiring.

Irving Penn. Leontyne Price, New York, 1961. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © Condé Nast | Irving Penn. Truman Capote, New York, 1979, printed 1983. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation | Irving Penn. Bee, New York, 1995, printed 2001. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation | Irving Penn. Issey Miyake Fashion: White and Black, New York, 1990, printed 1992. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation

As a select group of Nashville women carving out their own creative space graced the ethereal halls of the Frist Center, each couldn’t help but gasp in familiarization of the photography.  It was as if we had met Irving Penn, himself.  The museum marketing director greeted us with a bit of information upon the start of the exhibit.  Two facts were known: he was legendary and he was a Vogue Photographer.  However, as we wandered through the first hall, we actually met Irving Penn through his work.  Just as mentioned before, naturally, we, humans are drawn to imagery.  We flip pages of magazines instead of actually reading articles because we feel like we can learn all we need to know from the photos.  That is exactly what it felt like to walk through the first hall of wonders of Irving Penn.  For many of us, we had seen the magical works before somewhere, somehow throughout our life’s years.  It was simply as if we were putting a name with a face!  That’s how intimate Irving Penn’s work is.  That is how talented he was.

pictured from left to right, India Marie | Tiffany at Tiff & Coco | Kay Elle | Sarah at Creative Souls Tribe | Melissa at Fabglance | Sheena at Love At Any Stage | Malaka at Scales of Style | Jasmine Hockett



It inspired a group of creatives already sharing their stories in various ways rather it be fashion blogging, lifestyle blogging, date night blogging, and more.  Every day, more and more people move to Nashville for various reasons rather it be for a music career, the art scene, the blogging scene, college, a new start or a corporate career.  The Frist Museum brings exhibits that explore different genres and backgrounds of life.  In many cases, we would never have the opportunity to view such work as Irving Penn.  Besides, Irving Penn would’ve been 100-years-old this year.  In celebration of this, a remarkable exhibit will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York (The Met), New York beginning this week.  The fact Nashville was able to bring in the Irving Penn exhibit is gratifying in so many ways.  One being, it came to Nashville, TN before it made its appearance in New York City.  It shows natives that we know how to grow with the world.  It shows transplants that we are versatile and ever changing!


Irving Penn. Young Boy, Pause Pause, American South, 1941, printed 2001. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation | Irving Penn. Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Marrakech, 1951, printed 1969. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist. © Condé Nast | Irving Penn. Kerchief Glove (Dior), Paris, 1950, printed 1984. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Promised gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © Condé Nast

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