Miami Arts: The Boca Raton Museum of Art Launches "Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery."

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The Boca Raton Museum of Art website will feature links to new ongoing activities here, including live interactive streaming and tips for parents that will be created daily on the Museum social media sites including Facebook  and Instagram.

"Being creative has not been canceled," says Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art. "Art, culture, and creativity have always made a difference in powerful ways, especially during challenging times. While the Museum is temporarily closed, we will continue to give back to the community. These artists in Eye to I made a lasting mirror effect of themselves, creating a very personal art that engages us – the viewer," adds Lippman.


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New full-length video tour for people staying at home for social distancing. Watch the new extended video above, for "Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery" at the Boca Raton Museum of Art that is now offered online for audiences at home.

Untitled from the series When I am not Here, Estoy alla Artist: María Magdalena Campos-Pons Dye diffusion transfer print 1996 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Julia P. and Horacio Herzberg © María M. Campos-Pons

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At a time when millions of selfies are posted every day and identity is proving to be more fluid, this exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery shines a new light on self-portraiture and representation. 

Elaine de Kooning Self-Portrait Artist: Elaine de Kooning Oil on Masonite 1946 National Portrait Gallery,

Smithsonian Institution courtesy Elaine de Kooning Trust

The term self-conscious takes on a whole new meaning in today's social media era.

The show was created to commemorate the National Portrait Gallery's 50th anniversary, celebrating the artists who make the NPG Collection so extraordinary. 

Click above to view the online tour of the original version of this exhibition, previously on view in Washington at the National Portrait Gallery - also at this link.

Self-Portrait with Rita Artist: Thomas Hart Benton Oil on canvas c.

1924 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jack H. Mooney

The show was organized by the Chief Curator of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, Dr. Brandon Brame Fortune.

The traveling version of this exhibition is different from the original Smithsonian show that was previously on view in Washington, DC – all of the works on paper are new and were chosen especially for the national tour, as are several of the paintings.


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Self-portraits by prominent figures in the history of portraiture includes Robert Arneson, Thomas Hart Benton, Deborah Kass, Elaine de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Jacob Lawrence, Louise Nevelson, Irving Penn, Robert Rauschenberg, Fritz Scholder, and Roger Shimomura. 

The exhibition aims for balanced representation of people at different points in their life journey - including death, such as the image shown below: Self Portrait with Grey Cat.

This was the last self-portrait by Fritz Scholder before his passing. The painting (below) was made in 2003, when the artist was battling complications brought on by diabetes. 

Self Portrait with Grey Cat, 2003, by Fritz Scholder. Acrylic on canvas (2003).

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution ©2003 Estate of Fritz Scholder

The dark, moody canvas (above) features the artist boldly facing the viewer as he leans on his cane.

His eyes are covered by tinted glasses, and the tubes from his oxygen tank are visibly running from his nose to the ambiguously shadowy floor, which has been described as a reference to the "shadow of death."

Lois Dodd Self-Portrait. Oil on Masonite (1989). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Rebecca Mitchell and Ben Harris.

Early works includes Edward Steichen, Edward Hopper, and composer George Gershwin, who was also a painter. More recent works includes Ana Mendieta, Chuck Close, Lois Dodd, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and Alison Saar.


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The show was organized by the Chief Curator of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, Dr. Brandon Brame Fortune.

"Eye to I" showcases 60 works in a variety of styles and media ranging from caricatures to photographs, from colorful watercolors to dramatic paintings and time-based media. 

Lee Simonson Self-Portrait. Oil on canvas (c. 1912). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.Gift of Karl and Jody Simonson; Frame conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee.

The exhibition traces the process, from gazing into the mirror to looking into the camera; from painted and drawn surfaces to mechanical reproductions such as prints and photographs; from static forms to video.

James Amos Porter Self-Portrait Artist: James Amos Porter Oil on canvas

1957 National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Dorothy Porter Wesley.

James A. Porter founded the field of African American art history. He chaired Howard University's Art Department and directed the university's art gallery from 1953 until his death in 1970. 

He studied in France, Cuba, and Haiti and traveled in West Africa, Egypt, and Brazil. These trips abroad impacted his work, including his self- portrait which conveys the influence of Parisian artists.

 

Shimomura Crossing the Delaware Artist: Roger Shimomura Acrylic on canvas 2010 National Portrait Gallery,

Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Raymond L. Ocampo Jr., Sandra Oleksy Ocampo, and Robert P. Ocampo

© 2010, Roger Shimomura

The National Portrait gallery also features Alice Neel who presented a shocking, endearing, and utterly unconventional self-portrait that took her five years to complete.  She foreshadowed by decades the use of "this is the real me" selfies to challenge gender and body-image stereotypes. Neel took on the history of male artists depicting nude women and flipped it around completely, with absolute control of her image. An unflinching challenge to the centuries-old convention of idealized femininity, Alice Neel's self-portrait is openly accepting of her aging body.

"Eye to I" is presented concurrently with the exhibition Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers. 

 

In Exaltation of Flowers: Petunia, Caladium, Budleya, by Edward Jean Steichen Tempera and gold leaf on canvas (c. 1910-1913).

 

The seven large Art Nouveau panels – ten feet tall each – were painted by Steichen from 1911- 1914 for the Park Avenue townhouse of Eugene Meyer and his wife Agnes but were never installed. After a number of owners, including the Museum of Modern Art, they ended up in the collection of Art Bridges. 

The murals are inspired in part by Maurice Maeterlinck's book, The Intelligence of Flowers, and depict Isadora Duncan, Mercedes de Cordoba, Katharine Rhoades, Marion Beckett and others, along with their floral counterparts.

Eye to I: Self-Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery features a richly illustrated companion volume with an introduction by Brandon Brame Fortune and nearly 150 insightful entries on key self-portraits in the museum's collection.  The book was published by the National Portrait Gallery in association with Hirmer Publishers, and is distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

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