Published: November 15, 2011
“Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” is the first major museum exhibition to explore how gender and sexual identity have shaped the creation of American portraiture. Organized by and presented at the National Portrait Gallery in 2010, it will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum November 18⁆ebruary 12.
With the cooperation of the National Portrait Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum has reconstituted the exhibition in concert with the Tacoma Art Museum, where it will be on view March 17⁊une 10.
“Hide/Seek” includes approximately 100 works in a wide range of media created over the course of 100 years that reflect a variety of sexual identities and the stories of several generations. Highlighting the influence of gay and lesbian artists, many of whom developed new visual strategies to code and disguise their subjects’ sexual identities as well as their own, “Hide/Seek” considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern Americans, how artists have explored the definition of sexuality and gender, how major themes in modern art †especially abstraction †have been influenced by marginalization, and how art has reflected society’s changing attitudes.
Arnold L. Lehman, Brooklyn museum director, said, “From the moment I first learned about this extraordinary exhibition in its planning stages, presenting it in Brooklyn has been a priority. It is an important chronicle of a neglected dimension of American art and a brilliant complement and counterpoint to ‘Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties,’ a touring exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum, also on view this fall.”
In addition to its commentary on a marginalized cultural history, “Hide/Seek” offers a survey of more than a century of American art. Beginning with late Nineteenth Century portraits by Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent, it includes works from the first half of the 1900s by such masters as Romaine Brooks, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe; the exhibition continues through the postwar period with works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Agnes Martin and Andy Warhol, and concludes with major works by late Twentieth Century artists such as Keith Haring, Glenn Ligon, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Catherine Opie.
The Brooklyn presentation will feature nearly all of the works included in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. Among them are rarely seen paintings by Charles Demuth, whose better-known industrialized landscapes are on view in “Youth and Beauty”; Andrew Wyeth’s painting of a young neighbor standing nude in a wheat field, much like Botticelli’s “Venus” emerging from her shell.
Cass Bird’s photographic portrait of a friend staring out from under a cap emblazoned with the words “I Look Just Like My Daddy,” and David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly,” an unfinished film the artist created between 1986 and 1987 will also be included.
The Brooklyn Museum is at 200 Eastern Parkway. For information, 718-638-5000 or www.brooklynmuseum.org .
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