Published by Taschen this extraordinary book looks at human relationships and questions the notion of identity. Accompanying this reedition is a 72-page booklet of previously censored images, letters, archives and an essay by Hilton Als, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Originally laid out by Marvin Israel (1924-1984), long time art director at Harper’s Bazaar magazine, this resolutely subversive book is back with a bang along with an exhibition at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York. On until January 13th 2018, the gallery will be showing the Avedon photos from the book.
From the depths of a psychiatric hospital to the round tables of the American nationalist party, from the militant fervour of Malcolm X to the disappointment of Eisenhower who laid down his arms, Nothing Personal, like an ultimate glimmer of lucidity, is an identikit portrait of a breathless America long before Trump started rocking the Twittersphere. A veritable odyssey through the United States, Nothing Personal led Avedon and his friend James Baldwin, the activist/novelist with an acerbic turn of phrase, to the icons in the struggle for civil rights. But the two men also met politicians, intellectuals, Bob Dylan and screen goddess Marilyn Monroe. Over 160 pages the authors interlace opinions and observations, daringly contrasting on the same double page a photo of white supremacists in full Nazi salute with an image of the gay Jewish poet Allen Ginsberg, in an incising view of American society.
A polemic work of the counter-culture, Nothing Personal confronted ideologies yet according to its detractors stood out as a work by the “moralising liberal elite”.