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Media Advisory: Press preview for the new exhibition “One Life: Sylvia Plath”

June 19, 2017

WHAT:     Press preview for the new exhibition “One Life: Sylvia Plath”
WHEN:    Thursday, June 29
                  10–11:30 a.m.

WHERE:    Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Eighth and G streets N.W.
WHO:       Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture, National Portrait Gallery
                   Karen V. Kukil, guest co-curator, associate curator of rare books and manuscripts at Smith College

The National Portrait Gallery presents “One Life: Sylvia Plath,” the first exploration of the poet and writer’s visual imagination in an art and history museum. The exhibition reveals how Plath shaped her identity as she came of age as a writer in the 1950s and early 1960s. The exhibition opens in the museum’s “One Life” space June 30 through May 20, 2018.  

Through personal letters, self-portraits, family photographs and relevant objects, the exhibition highlights Plath’s struggle to understand the traumas in her life—the early death of her father, psychiatric breakdown in college and collapse of her marriage—and to navigate the societal pressures placed on women as she made her way in the professional world. Visitors will get a look into Plath’s personal life and her savvy understanding of visual media. 
The exhibition features a carefully selected array of images and objects from the Mortimer Rare Book Collection and the Smith College Historic Clothing Collection at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and the Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington, as well as private collections. 
The Portrait Gallery’s “One Life” exhibition series dedicates one full gallery to the biography of a single individual, offering deep scholarship and a chance to showcase different aspects of the person’s life.

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