Sunday, September 6, 2015

Staring back at celebrities

Where: National Portrait Gallery

When: through July 10, 2016

I went with a friend to see this show, an examination of celebrity portraits.  I enjoy going with another person to exhibits from time to time; it gives me a fresh and different perspective on what I'm seeing.  When one has only oneself for company, one can start having the same reaction to everything.  Having a companion helps to shake things up, and that's all for the best.

The subjects in this show come from all walks of famous life - there are musicians, actors, filmmakers, athletes, even a Supreme Court justice.  They look at us, the viewers, as we look at them.  These are all recent additions to the museum's collection, some of which have not been displayed before.  Some, though, I recognized, which always makes me happy.  "Cupcake Katy," pictured here, is one that is quite familiar, as it was a featured portrait several months ago.

Perhaps the piece I enjoyed most was a video of Esperanza Spalding by Bo Gehring.  I'm pretty sure I saw one of his pieces in the portrait competition exhibit a while ago.  The subject lies flat and listens to a musical work of his or her choice while the camera moves up their body.  It sounds odd, but it's captivating.

Verdict: This is a great show, manageable in a lunch hour.  Lots of interesting people to see and many interesting ways to see them.

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