HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture

Minor White, Tom Murphy, 1948. Gelatin silver print, 4 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (11.7 x 9.2 cm). The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum. Bequest of Minor White, MWA 48-136. © Trustees of Princeton University

Romaine Brooks, Self-Portrait, 1923. Oil on canvas. 46 1/4 x 26 7/8 in. (117.5 x 68.3 cm). Gift of the artist. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

Berenice Abbott, Janet Flanner, 1927. Gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 x 7 3/8 in. (24.1 x 18.7 cm). Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. © Berenice Abbott/Commerce Graphics, New York

AA Bronson, Felix, June 5, 1994, 1994 (printed 1999). Lacquer on vinyl, 84 x 168 in. (213.4 x 426.7 cm). National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Purchased 2001. © AA Bronson, courtesy Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin

Alice Neel, Frank O'Hara, 1960. Oil on canvas. 33 3/4 x 16 x 1 in. (85.7 x 40.6 x 2.5 cm). Gift of Hartley S. Neel.

Robert Mapplethorpe, Self-Portrait, 1975. Polaroid print. Sheet: 16 x 20 in. (40.6 x 50.8 cm). The Estate of Robert Mapplethorpe, New York City. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

Peter Hujar, Susan Sontag, 1975, Gelatin-silver print, 14 3/4 x 14 3/4 inches; 38 x 38 cm, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © Estate of Peter Hujar.

Cass Bird, I Look Just Like My Daddy, 2003 (printed 2010). C-41 print. Sheet: 30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm). Collection of the Artist. © Cass Bird

Currently at the Brooklyn Museum: HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.

The first major museum exhibition to focus on themes of gender and sexuality in modern American portraiture, HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture brings together more than one hundred works in a wide range of media, including paintings, photographs, works on paper, film, and installation art. The exhibition charts the underdocumented role that sexual identity has played in the making of modern art, and highlights the contributions of gay and lesbian artists to American art. Beginning in the late nineteenth century with Thomas Eakins’ Realist paintings, HIDE/SEEK traces the often coded narrative of sexual desire in art produced throughout the early modern period and up to the present. The exhibition features pieces by canonical figures in American art—including George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Alice Neel, and Berenice Abbott—along with works that openly assert gay and lesbian subjects in modern and contemporary art, by artists such as Jess Collins and Tee Corinne.

In addition to revealing connections between sexual identity and formal developments in modern art, HIDE/SEEK presents artists’ responses to the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the AIDS epidemic, and postmodern themes of identity, highlighted with major pieces by artists such as AA Bronson, Félix González-Torres, and Annie Leibovitz.  More than simply documenting a prominent subculture often relegated to the margins of American art, HIDE/SEEK offers a unique survey of more than a century of American portraiture and leads the way towards a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of modern art in America.

Images via Brooklyn Museum, New York and National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC.

For more: Alice Neel, Robert Mapplethorpe and Peter Hujar.

  Also, I just ordered the exhibition catalog!
Hide/Seek
Difference and Desire in American Portraiture
Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

 

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