Preview: Wexner Prize Conversation: Annie Leibovitz and Jann Wenner

  • Photo by Nick Rogers, courtesy of Leibovitz Studio
From the November 8, 2012 edition

Rolling Stone founder and editor Jann Wenner and photographer Annie Leibovitz are as much legends of 20th century pop cultural history as are the people they wrote about and photographed. Their famous careers have intertwined ever since Wenner gave Leibovitz her first RS assignment — a John Lennon cover shoot — in 1970.

“It’s a really interesting relationship,” said Amanda Potter, the Wexner Center’s educator for public and university programs. “It’s hard to imagine Rolling Stone without Annie’s photography. And it’s hard to imagine Annie’s photography without the Rolling Stone influence.”

Wenner and Leibovitz will discuss their relationship and more at Friday’s Wexner Prize conversation event. During the hour-and-a-half-long chat (tickets are $20), Wenner will ask Leibovitz questions about her career’s highlights and struggles.

The live interview is a precursor to the weekend’s festivities celebrating Leibovitz’s win of the Wexner Prize, an elite award given to very few living artists whose artistic achievements are innovative and influential.

Leibovitz and her team composed the short list of people they thought would be qualified to interview the artist while complementing her stories of the industry and her career with his or her own. Wenner was the winner.

“It’s nice to see that they’re still friends after more than 40 years. They’re so inextricably linked,” Potter said. “That was the heyday of music journalism in so many different ways. It will be interesting to hear their thoughts on the evolution of music journalism and photography.”