“This Is A Portrait If I Say So” Explores Non-Mimetic Portraiture

Portrait of Deb from 1988-199?, 2012-2013. Single-strand embroidery on cotton. 28 × 24 in 71.1 × 61 cm.

Gathering together an incredible array of works from the past 100 years which take a non-mimetic approach to portraiture, “This is a Portrait If I Say So:  Identity in American Art, 1912 to Today” is on display at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art until October 23rd.   The exhibition explores the emergence and evolution of symbolic, abstract, and conceptual portraiture in modern and contemporary American art.  It was curated by QCA member, Jonathan Frederick Walz, Director of Curatorial Affairs & Curator of American Art at The Columbus Museum, along with Kathleen Merrill Campagnolo, independent curator and scholar, and Anne Collins Goodyear, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Among the nearly 75 portraits which use symbolic and conceptual strategies, rather than physical likeness, to represent specific people, are works by Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein, Yoko Ono, Eleanor Antin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Glenn Ligon, and L.J. Roberts. 

The exhibition is divided into three periods: 1910s and 1920s, (Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven etc.), 1960s to 1970s (Mel Bochner, Robert Morris, Yoko Ono etc.) and 1990’s through today (Janine Antoni, Glenn Ligon, L.J. Roberts, etc.).  The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published by Yale University Press, featuring essays by each of the curators and over 100 illustrations.

More info about the exhibition: This is A Portrait If I Say So Exhibition

More info about the catalogue: This is A Portrait if I Say So Catalog


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