National Portrait Gallery Presents “In Mid-Sentence”
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will present “In Mid-Sentence,” a selection of photographs from the museum’s collection that, when seen together, showcase the camera’s ability to capture people in dialogue. Featuring more than 25 images of people in the midst of public speeches, intimate confessions, shared jokes, political confrontations and other forms of verbal exchange, the exhibition will explore the power of visual communication. Photographs of historical moments—such as Robert Adelman’s image of Martin Luther King Jr. delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech and Garry Winogrand’s portrait of President John F. Kennedy speaking at the 1960 Democratic National Convention will be represented alongside glimpses into the private lives of other icons, including baseball great Jackie Robinson. “In Mid-Sentence” will be on view May 3 through March 8, 2020 and is curated by Leslie Ureña, associate curator of photographs.
“While photography is a silent medium, photographers have been witnesses to speech-filled, often loud interactions,” Ureña said. “The works in this exhibition grant us an opportunity to question what photographic subjects were saying and consider how we alter our communication styles depending on where and in front of whom we speak, and whether the dialogue is public or private.”
Figures featured in the exhibition will include Muhammad Ali, Diane Arbus, President George H.W. Bush, Angela Davis, Murray Gell-Mann, Althea Gibson, Juan González, S.I. Hayakawa, Hans Hofmann, Margaret Mead and Huey Newton.
In addition to highlighting prominent American figures in public and private life, “In Mid-Sentence” will explore the relationship between the subject and camera, and what body language can communicate. A selection of speeches will be included on an interactive kiosk.
The exhibition was made possible by the American Portrait Gala Endowment. Additional support for the interactive kiosk was provided by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee.
National Portrait Gallery
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.
The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at npg.si.edu, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
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