Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recent Acquisitions

Where: National Portrait Gallery

When: through November 4, 2012

You can almost always see a selection of items the museum has added recently in this hallway exhibit.  The pieces are up for a year, and then a new set of items goes on display.  This is the second time I've seen this show, and it's interesting to see what the museum picks.  Obviously, portraits of some people are clearly worthy of inclusion, but others might be more of a stretch - is someone who is very well-known and important today necessarily going to be so in 20 years?

Some of the pieces that caught my eye included: a portrait of Will Rogers - hung near a sculpture of him.  I didn't know that his parents were Cherokee; perhaps I'll see him featured in an exhibit at the American Indian Museum one day?  The commentary by Nancy Reagan's portrait compared her to Jackie Kennedy, in terms of bringing glamor back to the White House.  I'd never made that connection before, and I doubt I'll make it again.  I can't quite compare the big shoulder pads of the 1980s to the pill-box hat.  A Clara Tice portrait of Frank Crowinshield (the editor of Vanity Fair) is composed of nudes (they make up his face) that the New York Vice Squad had tried to confiscate.  A drawing of his cat makes up his mustache.

Verdict: Well worth a stop, especially if you're in the museum already.  Small, so won't take your entire lunch hour to see.

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