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The Picture of Dorian Gray Screening

Still from Albert Lewin’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) and a detail from Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Dorian Gray (2001)

Join the Tang at 6 pm on Thursday, November 9, for a screening of Albert Lewin’s 1945 adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray followed by a conversation with Skidmore English Professor Barbara Black and Tang Mellon Collections Curator Rebecca McNamara. The film tells the story of the aristocratic Dorian Gray, who, believing that an oil portrait holds the peak of his youth and beauty, forfeits his soul in exchange for eternal youth. Over time the portrait reflects his aging and increasing moral corruption while his own face and body remain beautiful.

The screening and conversation is organized in conjunction with the Tang’s exhibition Other Side: Art, Object, Self, which features the work Dorian Gray, 2001, by Yinka Shonibare MBE. In this series of 12 photographs, Shonibare—who was born in London of Nigerian descent, raised in Lagos, and later returned to live and work in London—emulates film stills, presenting an adaptation of the original novel and Lewin’s film in which the artist stands in for the title character, his racial background adding further depth to the story of inner and outer self, beauty and ugliness, truth and artifice. Shonibare conveys all but one of his photographs in black and white, mimicking the grayscale film’s climactic reveal of the wizened portrait in Technicolor.

The screening of The Picture of Dorian Gray is free and open to the public. This event is supported in part by Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at the Tang Teaching Museum, a project of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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