Indepth Arts News: |
"Self/Image: Portraiture from Copley to Close"
2006-08-30 until 2006-12-31
Reynolda House, Museum of American Art
Reynolda House Museum of American Art opens a new exhibition, Self/Image: Portraiture from Copley to Close on August 30, on view through December 31, 2006. The exhibition will feature key selected works from significant collections as well as masterpieces from the Reynolda House collection. Artists represented include Jeremiah Theus, Joseph Blackburn, John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Charles Willson Peale, Chuck Close, and Nam June Paik. This exhibition will also feature special educational components geared towards children, including an activity space and descriptive labels.
The portrait occupies a singular place in the history of American art. As a genre, these representations of self are layered visual accounts of actuality, desire, and projection. Historical portraits—too often taken at face value—are granted a rare authority, a free pass to authenticity. The first lady or military hero must have looked like that. But portraits are negotiations. They are complex bargains between artist, sitter, and society (was the governor really that tall?). The desire to be recognized as an individual produces its own visual language of sly grins that push back upon convention.
Self/Image explores the development of American portraiture from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day. Particular attention is paid to watershed moments of cultural change, such as when British subjects became American citizens and when women broke out of hermetic interiors and took a place in public life for the first time. Another emphasis will be on images of the artist.
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