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Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, through August 18, 2019

“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 presents 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 Gallery’s vast collection, ‘Eye to I’ examines how artists in the United States have chosen to portray themselves since the beginning of the last century.

‘Eye to I’ features 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 traces 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 “Who’s 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.” — National Portrait Gallery

Self-Portrait by Lee Simonson. Oil on canvas, c. 1912. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Karl and Jody Simonson

Self-Portrait by Edward Hopper. Charcoal on paper, 1903. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Self-Portrait by Walker Evans. Gelatin silver print, c. 1934. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Self-Portrait with Rita by Thomas Hart Benton. Oil on canvas, c. 1924. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jack H. Mooney

Untitled (Self-Portrait) by Louise Nevelson. Ink and watercolor on paper, c. 1938. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection © 2018 Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York PRESS

Self-Portrait by Andy Warhol. Offset lithograph on silver-coated posterboard, 1966

Left Side Right Side by Joan Jonas. Black and white video, with sound, 33:15 minutes, 1972 © Joan Jonas

Self-Portrait by Lois Dodd. Oil on Masonite, 1989. Gift of Rebecca Mitchell and Ben Harris, © Lois Dodd, courtesy Alexandre Gallery, New York

Self-Portrait by Alice Neel. Oil on canvas, 1980. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © Estate of Alice Neel, 1980

Self-Portrait by Lucas Samaras. Dye diffusion transfer print, 1983. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © Lucas Samaras, courtesy Pace Gallery

Who’s Sorry Now by Molly Soda. Instagram and internet video, 2017. Molly Soda, Image courtesy 315 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Aliens Sans Frontières by Enrique Chagoya. Nine color lithograph on handmade Amate paper, 2016. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © 2016 Enrique Chagoya

Self Portrait with Grey Cat by Fritz Scholder. Acrylic on canvas, 2003. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © 2003 Estate of Fritz Scholder

Copper Self-portrait with Dog by Susan Hauptman. Pastel with copper leaf on paper, 2001. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of an Anonymous Donor © Estate of Susan Hauptman, courtesy Forum Gallery, New York City

“Individuals featured in ‘Eye to I’ have approached self-portraiture at various points in history, under unique circumstances, and using different tools, but their representations—especially when seen together—all raise important questions about self-perception and self-reflection,” says Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, Smithsonian’s 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.”

Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today” was organized by the Portrait Gallery’s Chief Curator Brandon Brame Fortune. 

Images courtesy National Portrait Gallery.

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