American Beauty at the Annenberg Photo Gallery

Lauren Greenfield

What really defines today's ideal of beauty? To tackle the provocative, often-fraught topic, fashion historian Kohle Yohannan has amassed more than 170 photographs for "Beauty CULTure," at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles (May 21-November 27).

The eye-opening photo exhibit charts the evolution of beauty archetypes over the past century and features notable photographers — glamour-makers Guy Bourdin and Man Ray, cultural chroniclers Martin Schoeller and Lauren Greenfield — tracing the impact of their images on modern beauty. Bombshells like Marilyn Monroe and '80s supermodels are certainly among them, but surprising standouts include hyper-androgynous Grace Jones and Tammy Faye Messner — in a starkly up-close-and-personal moment. Not only are conventions of size, age, and race challenged here, but also considered are the influence of HD video, Photoshop, and (perhaps-too-graphic) plastic surgery. This is Hollywood, after all.

Check back here soon for future exhibit tours and MC events with the show.

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