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Return to previous pageUpcoming Exhibition

Portraiture Now: Staging the Self

Aug. 22 through April 12, 2015


“Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” features the work of David Antonio Cruz, Carlee Fernandez, María Martínez-Cañas, Rachelle Mozman, Karen Miranda Rivadaneira, and Michael Vasquez, all artists of Latino background, who make us aware of how identities are constructed and negotiated via portraiture. Seeking to relieve portraiture of its charge to memorialize individuals and convey essential aspects of their identities, they use it instead to explore the ambiguities and changes in individual character. Theatricality is central to their inquiry, as they represent narratives remembered or imagined from their own family histories, or superimpose portraits of their loved ones over themselves, looking for what is shared or unique in individuality, searching like an actor for a character. As they present themselves in a staged manner, portraiture loses its aura of certainty, and becomes an evolving map for finding oneself and others.

This exhibition team is led by curator of Latino art and history Taína Caragol and includes chief curator Brandon Fortune, associate director of education Rebecca Kasemeyer, associate curator of painting and sculpture Dorothy Moss and senior historian David C. Ward. “Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” is presented by the National Portrait Gallery in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center.

“Portraiture Now: Staging the Self” has been made possible by the following generous donors:

  • The Latino Initiatives Pool, Smithsonian Latino Center
  • The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows
  • The Rebecca Houser Westcott Fund for Portraiture Now


Garage Stack / Michael Vasquez / 2012 / Acrylic and paint marker on paper / Courtesy of the artist

Bear Hair Study / Carlee Fernandez (born 1973) / 2004 / C-Print / Courtesy of the artist

Sol y sombra / Rachelle Mozman (born 1972) / 2012 / C-Print / Courtesy of the artist


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