SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta presents
Ellen von Unwerth: This Side of Paradise
ATLANTA – MAY, 2023 – Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is thrilled to present the exhibition Ellen von Unwerth: This Side of Paradise, on view now at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta. Curated by SCAD FASH Creative Director Rafael Gomes, This Side of Paradise presents over 50 photographs and fashion films from celebrated photographer Ellen von Unwerth’s vast editorial and artistic catalog.
"The exuberant Ellen von Unwerth shows SCAD students how to plot a truly polymathic career: director, photographer, author, storyteller, stylist, model, provocateur,” says SCAD President & Founder Paula Wallace. “This Side of Paradise at SCAD FASH promises to be the show of the season in Atlanta, and a spectacle worth seeing up close."
Ellen von Unwerth is one of fashion’s most sought-after photographers, revered for her lively, electric images that are provocative yet playful. Von Unwerth’s striking photographs convey the narrative of bold sensuality and female empowerment, themes that have carried throughout her work for over three decades.
Inspired by von Unwerth’s Paris studio, This Side of Paradise at SCAD FASH will portray a mischievous and raucous party atmosphere through a dazzling curation of von Unwerth’s trademark images brimming with movement, decadence and glamour. The exhibition features icons of fashion and culture presented through von Unwerth’s lens including portraits of Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell, RuPaul, Cara Delvigne, Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, Georgia May Jagger, Zoe Kravitz, Alton Mason and others. This Side of Paradise will also present projections of von Unwerth’s stimulating and exuberant short fashion films featuring characters played by Coco Rocha, Miley Cyrus, and Georgia May Jagger.
"I am so proud and thankful to SCAD FASH for dedicating this show to me,” said photographer Ellen von Unwerth. “'This Side of Paradise' is the place to be! The show reflects my vision of a society with no boundaries, celebration, intimacy, love, friendship, fun and glitter - even a little devil is allowed in. Hope everyone who visits enjoys this exhibition!"
Ellen von Unwerth began her career as a model in Europe. Constrained with the rigidity demanded of models at the time, she transitioned to a role behind the lens. Photography became the medium by which she shared her personality and artistic vision with the world. Throughout her career, von Unwerth has been celebrated for her distinct style and ability to portray electric narratives through her images and films. She has created iconic advertising campaigns for Guess, Agent Provocateur, Absolut, Chanel, Tommy Hilfiger, MAC Cosmetics, Baccarat, H&M, Dior, A.P.C., and Belvedere. She is a longtime collaborator with the world’s most revered fashion, art, and lifestyle publications including Vogue, ELLE, Glamour, i-D, Interview, Numéro, Paper, Playboy, and GQ. An accomplished author, von Unwerth has published bestselling books of her powerful photography including Snaps (1994), Wicked (1998), Couples (1999), Revenge (2003), and Fräulein (2009).
“Ellen von Unwerth is one of the industry’s most enigmatic personalities and photographers – her style is truly one-of-a-kind and her images and films are spontaneous, playful, bold, and seductive,” says curator and SCAD FASH Creative Director Rafael Gomes. “Ellen’s thrilling body of work is an inspiration to so many of our SCAD students and it is an honor to present this exhilarating showcase at SCAD FASH.”
On the occasion of the exhibition opening at SCAD FASH, the museum hosted an exclusive reception and conversation with von Unwerth in discussion with journalist, editor, and curator Stefano Tonchi, followed by a celebratory reception with SCAD students and museum members. SCAD students from the top-ranked degree programs of photography, fashion design, advertising & branding, film & television, and luxury brand management had the opportunity to engage with the artist through portfolio reviews, artist talks, and other programming.
The opening of This Side of Paradise also kicked off the university’s signature SCAD FASHION 2023 weekend in Atlanta, the university’s signature film and runway showcase of innovative and original collections from students within SCAD’s prestigious School of Fashion. Ellen Von Unwerth was a featured guest for the weekend’s festivities and the esteemed recipient of the prestigious SCAD Étoile Award, recognizing von Unwerth’s illustrious contributions to fashion, photography, and film.
Ellen von Unwerth: This Side of Paradise will be on view at SCAD FASH through January 8, 2024. For more information, visit scadfash.org.
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About SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film
SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film celebrates fashion as a universal language, garments as important conduits of identity, and film as an immersive and memorable medium of popular culture. Situated within SCAD Atlanta, the museum presents dynamic exhibitions, captivating films, and enticing events that mine the rich and storied legacies of fashion history to inspire contemporary designers and future innovations. Supported by the university’s strong global presence and connections to renowned contemporary fashion designers, filmmakers, and creative professionals around the world, SCAD FASH is an integral part of the SCAD educational experience. Like the award-winning SCAD Museum of Art, SCAD FASH serves as a creative resource for students of all ages and a wellspring of inspiration for visitors. Through programming that engages the university’s broad array of academic disciplines, SCAD FASH offers diverse exhibitions, films, installations, performances, and events to enliven and inspire the greater community year-round. Each program is designed to engage and appeal to visitors with varied backgrounds and interests, from textiles and jewelry to photography and film. Past exhibitions have featured the work of designers Ruth E. Carter, Azzedine Alaïa, Pierre Cardin, Carolina Herrera, Mary Katrantzou, Guo Pei, and Oscar de la Renta. Photographic exhibitions have featured the work of Albert Watson, Jonathan Becker, Bill Cunningham, and Omar Victor Diop. Exhibitions are accompanied by curated film series that complement programming. Past films include Pierre Cardin: Le Futur, The First Monday in May, Funny Face, The Leopard, and Ovation for Oscar, among others. For more information, visit scadfash.org.