Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage charted a new direction for one of America’s best-known living photographers. Unlike her staged and carefully lit portraits made on assignment for magazines and advertising clients, the photographs in this exhibition were taken simply because Annie Leibovitz was moved by the subject. The images spoke in a commonplace language to the photographer’s curiosity about the world she inherited, spanning landscapes both dramatic and quiet, interiors of living rooms and bedrooms, and objects that are talismans of past lives.
Visiting the homes of iconic figures, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Pete Seeger, and Elvis Presley, as well as places such as Niagara Falls, Gettysburg, Old Faithful, and the Yosemite Valley, she let her instincts and intuitions guide her to related subjects—hence the title “Pilgrimage.” The exhibition included approximately 70 photographs taken between April 2009 and May 2011—nine of them in Concord, Massachusetts. Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Bernie Stadiem Endowment Fund provided support for the exhibition. The C.F. Foundation of Atlanta supported the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.