Drawing from a collection of over 500 self-portraits, Eye to I: Self-Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery features sixty works that explore how American artists have chosen to portray themselves since the beginning of the last century. Created in all media, from a brick sculpture to video art, they provide a background for today’s fascination with self-portraiture, and may inspire efforts to present ourselves to the world or to see others with empathy and understanding. As people are confronted each day with “selfies” through social media and as they continue to examine the fluidity of contemporary identity, this is an opportune time to reassess the significance of self-portraiture in relation to the country’s history and culture.
The exhibition includes self-portraits by Thomas Hart Benton, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Deborah Kass, Elaine de Kooning, Jacob Lawrence, Ana Mendieta, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Irving Penn, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucas Samaras, Fritz Scholder, Roger Shimomura, Edward Steichen and many more. Eye to I is curated by Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, at the Portrait Gallery. The tour will be accompanied by an expanded, fully-illustrated companion book that highlights more than 175 self-portraits from the collection in celebration of the National Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary.
Note: The original title of this exhibition was: Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today