WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonians National Portrait Gallery
announces Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today, organized by the Portrait Gallerys Chief Curator Brandon Brame Fortune. At a time when countless selfies are being posted on social media channels and identity is proving to be more and more fluid, the Portrait Gallery will present a sampling of how artists have approached the exploration of representation and self-depiction through portraiture. With each self-portrait, artists either reaffirm or rebel against a sense of identity that links the eye to I. Drawing primarily from the National Portrait Gallerys vast collection, Eye to I will examine how artists in the United States have chosen to portray themselves since the beginning of the last century. The exhibition will be on view Nov. 2, 2018 through Aug. 18, 2019.
Eye to I will feature more than 75 artworks in a variety of styles and media ranging from tiny caricatures to wall-sized photographs, from colorful pastels and watercolors to dramatic paintings and time-based media. The exhibition will trace the process through which select artistic practices have transitioned from gazing into the mirror to looking into the camera; from painted, sculpted or drawn surfaces to mechanical reproductions such as prints and photographs; from static forms to video and other digitized modes. Artworks to be included in the exhibition span the art historical timeline from 1901 to today. Early works will include a turn of the century self-portrait by American realist painter Everett Shinn from 1901 and a 1903 charcoal drawing by Edward Hopper. Also on view will be recently made work including a Vimeo video entitled Whos Sorry Now (2017) by Brooklyn-based artist Amalia Soto starring her internet persona Molly Soda; and a 2018 Internet Cache Portrait by Berlin-based artist Evan Roth.
Individuals featured in Eye to I have approached self-portraiture at various points in history, under unique circumstances, and using different tools, but their representationsespecially when seen togetherall raise important questions about self-perception and self-reflection, says Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, Smithsonians National Portrait Gallery. Some artists reveal intimate details of their inner lives through self-portraiture, while others use the genre to obfuscate their private selves or invent alter egos.
Featured in Eye to I will be self-portraits by prominent figures in the history of portraiture, including Berenice Abbott, Josef Albers, Richard Avedon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thomas Hart Benton, Louise Bourgeois, Patricia Cronin, Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans, Tsuguharu Foujita, Elaine de Kooning, Joan Jonas, Jacob Lawrence, Nickolas Muray, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Faith Ringgold, Diego Rivera, Lucas Samaras, Fritz Scholder, Roger Shimomura, Shahzia Sikander, Ralph Steiner, Andy Warhol, Martin Wong, and Beatrice Wood.
Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today concludes the Portrait Gallerys 50th anniversary exhibition program. An expanded, illustrated companion book will accompany the exhibition and is slated for spring 2019.