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April 18, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Museum: Portrait Gallery
View works dating from approximately 1945 to 1975 to examine the reinvention of portraiture at the very moment the art world considered it hopelessly out of fashion. Against the background of a post-World War II cultural resurgence in music, poetry, theater, and film—as well as Cold War paranoia and the growing activism regarding civil rights, the Vietnam War, feminism, and other movements — mid-century artists challenged the stereotype of homogenous American life by reassessing the individual. Keenly aware of the disdain for traditional portraiture, these artists chose to explore figurative themes deliberately, with considerable self-consciousness. While never forming a single style or school, these artworks absorbed the aesthetics and themes of their own generation in order to reinvigorate portraiture as a progressive art form.