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“Being creative has not been canceled. Art, culture, and creativity have always made a difference in powerful ways, especially during challenging times.”

April 15, 2020 USA News No Comments
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The Boca Raton Museum of Art Launches New Online Community Initiatives for Audiences Staying at Home, with the New Exhibition “Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery.”


The Museum has launched a new series of free Online Community Initiatives for all ages, including Keep Kids Smart with ART to help parents and their children who are home from school.

These free Online Community Initiatives will also reach out to seniors who are keeping social distance and who might feel isolated.

(Pictured above is the artwork by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Untitled, from the series When I am not Here, Estoy alla. The artist used her own body to map out feelings of translocation from place to place. The bilingual title is in half-Spanish and means When I am not Here, I am There. She stands with her eyes closed, as though transported between territories while holding on to her Afro-Caribbean talismans. © María M. Campos-Pons. Dye diffusion transfer print (1996). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Gift of Julia P. and Horacio Herzberg.)

“Being creative has not been canceled,” says Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

“Art, culture, and creativity have always made a difference in powerful ways, especially during challenging times.”

“While the Museum is temporarily closed, we will continue to give back to the community.”

“These artists in Eye to I made a lasting mirror effect of themselves, creating a very personal art that engages us – the viewer.” adds Lippman.

The Museum’s website will provide links to new ongoing activities here, including live interactive streaming and tips for parents that will be created daily on the Boca Raton Museum of Art’s Facebook page and Instagram (#BocaMuseumatHome, #museumfromhome, and #BocaMuseumfromHome).

At a time when millions of selfies are posted every day and identity is proving to be more fluid, this exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery shines a new light on self-portraiture and representation.

The term self-conscious takes on a whole new meaning in today’s social media era.

The show was created to commemorate the National Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary, celebrating the artists who make the NPG Collection so extraordinary.

Eye to I brings together the work of major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The powerful works are from every decade, starting in 1901 and continuing through 2015.

The Museum is launching a new series of free Online Community Initiatives for all ages, including Keep Kids Smart with ART that will aim to help parents and their children who are home from school.

These free Online Community Initiatives will also reach out to seniors who are keeping social distance and who might feel isolated.

Watch part one of the new at-home video tour of the new exhibition “Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery” at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

The Museum has always provided the community the added benefit of an Art School campus with an innovative art faculty, since its very beginnings in 1950. These art educators are using their expertise to develop online resources using the power of art.

The Ultimate Collection of “Selfies” by America’s Leading Artists: from 1901 through 2015.

The traveling version of this exhibition is different from the original Smithsonian show that was previously on view in Washington, DC – all of the works on paper are new and were chosen especially for the national tour, as are several of the paintings.

Self-portraits by prominent figures in the history of portraiture include: Robert Arneson, Thomas Hart Benton, Deborah Kass, Elaine de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Jacob Lawrence, Louise Nevelson, Irving Penn, Robert Rauschenberg, Fritz Scholder, and Roger Shimomura.

Early works include: Edward Steichen, Edward Hopper, and composer George Gershwin, who was also a painter.

More recent works include: Ana Mendieta, Chuck Close, Lois Dodd, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and Alison Saar.


The show was organized by the Chief Curator of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, Dr. Brandon Brame Fortune.

Eye to I showcases 60 works in a variety of styles and media ranging from caricatures to photographs, from colorful watercolors to dramatic paintings and time-based media.

The exhibition traces the process, from gazing into the mirror to looking into the camera; from painted and drawn surfaces to mechanical reproductions such as prints and photographs; from static forms to video.

The exhibition aims for balanced representation of people at different points in their life journey – including death, such as the image shown below: Self Portrait with Grey Cat.

This was the last self-portrait by Fritz Scholder before his passing. The painting (below) was made in 2003, when the artist was battling complications brought on by diabetes.


The dark, moody canvas (above) features the artist boldly facing the viewer as he leans on his cane.

His eyes are covered by tinted glasses, and the tubes from his oxygen tank are visibly running from his nose to the ambiguously shadowy floor, which has been described as a reference to the “shadow of death.”

In 1975, Alice Neel began her shocking, endearing, and utterly unconventional self-portrait that took her five years to complete.

She foreshadowed by decades the use of “this is the real me” selfies to challenge gender and body-image stereotypes. Neel took on the history of male artists depicting nude women and flipped it around completely, with absolute control of her image.


An unflinching challenge to the centuries-old convention of idealized femininity, Alice Neel’s self-portrait is openly accepting of her aging body.

James A. Porter founded the field of African American art history. He chaired Howard University’s Art Department and directed the university’s art gallery from 1953 until his death in 1970.

He studied in France, Cuba, and Haiti and traveled in West Africa, Egypt, and Brazil. These trips abroad impacted his work, including his self- portrait which conveys the influence of Parisian artists.

In his sinewy Self Portrait with Rita, Thomas Hart Benton evokes the type of posturing so prevalent on Instagram today.

He was fascinated with Hollywood and channeled his inner movie star (the artist had recently seen Douglas Fairbanks in the 1924 film, The Thief of Baghdad).


Roger Shimomura’s monumental work, Shimomura Crossing the Delaware, is also a highlight. During World War II, Shimomura and his family were imprisoned at an internment camp, where they became familiar with the widespread xenophobia taking place at that time during the 1940s.


In the painting, Shimomura cast himself as George Washington and replaced the Revolutionary soldiers with Samurai warriors, while a silhouette of the original painting by Emanuel Leutze haunts the background.

“These individuals have approached self-portraiture at various points in history and using different tools, but their representations ─ especially when seen together ─ all raise important questions about self-perception and self-reflection,” said Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. “Some artists reveal intimate details of their inner lives through self-portraiture, while others use the genre to obfuscate their private selves or invent alter egos.”

Eye to I: Self-Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery features a richly illustrated companion volume with an introduction by Brandon Brame Fortune and nearly 150 insightful entries on key self-portraits in the museum’s collection.

The book was published by the National Portrait Gallery in association with Hirmer Publishers, and is distributed by the University of Chicago Press.


Eye to I is presented concurrently with the exhibition Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers.

The seven large Art Nouveau panels – ten feet tall each – were painted by Steichen from 1911- 1914 for the Park Avenue townhouse of Eugene Meyer and his wife Agnes but were never installed. After a number of owners, including the Museum of Modern Art, they ended up in the collection of Art Bridges.

The murals are inspired in part by Maurice Maeterlinck’s book, The Intelligence of Flowers, and depict Isadora Duncan, Mercedes de Cordoba, Katharine Rhoades, Marion Beckett and others, along with their floral counterparts.

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