“Let’s come together, our doors are open” is the theme of the opening reception for the new exhibition, In High Style: The Photography of Neal Barr, 5–7 p.m., Jan. 13, at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main Street, Ventura. Sponsored by Union Bank, the reception admission is free and will feature plentiful refreshments, all purchased from local downtown businesses. A no-host bar will also be available.
“We encourage everyone to join us for an evening celebrating the resilience of our residents, businesses and government agencies, while enjoying the art of renowned fashion photographer and Ventura native, Neal Barr,” said Elena Brokaw, Museum of Ventura County executive director. “We will not be charging admission to the opening in the hopes of encouraging folks to come downtown and gather in support of the community. Throughout the galleries we will have donation opportunities and 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to fire relief efforts. We hope to bring people downtown, to encourage people to reengage with a part of what makes this community great – our shops, our restaurants, our art, our history.”
The artist Neal Barr will be attending the reception and will offer opening remarks along with several other community officials. Barr, whose extraordinary career has spanned 50 years, started in Ventura before moving to New York City in 1958, where he landed his first job as assistant to fashion photographer Ray Kellman, and later worked for Wilhela Cushman, fashion editor of Ladies’ Home Journal, and for fine art and fashion photographer Irving Penn.
Barr went on to launch his own studio, photographing some of the world’s most famous faces, including Warren Beatty, Sophia Loren, designer Halston and boxer Cassius Clay for top publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Ladies’ Home Journal and Sports Illustrated. More recently, Barr moved his studio back to Ventura and has been working on a comprehensive book documenting women’s fashions of the 1920s. He was honored by Brooks Institute of Photography as 2015 Distinguished Alumnus.
“Neal’s remarkable career has captured the essence of beauty and fashion as well as cultural shifts, including his 1968 photograph of Naomi Sims for the cover of Ladies’ Home Journal which broke the color barrier for mainstream women’s magazines,” said Anna Bermudez, curator at the Museum of Ventura County. “Visitors will be able to experience the changing trends over time through the artistry and uniqueness of Neal’s work.”
About the Museum
The Museum of Ventura County celebrates, preserves and interprets the art, history and culture of Ventura County, the California Channel Islands and the surrounding region through its collections, exhibitions, events, educational programs, publications and its research library, and serves as a gathering place for the community. Located at 100 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001, the Museum of Ventura County is open Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit venturamuseum.org or call 805-653-0323.