Throughout its extensive history, conventional portraiture has aimed both to render a person’s physical likeness, and to convey that person’s intangible essence. Masked presents a selection of unusual portraits from the Tang Collection that challenge this tradition by complicating the mediation of their subjects’ narratives. By restricting, fracturing, or disguising their subjects, these artists create portraits that demonstrate the mutability of identity as it is performed for different audiences.
The masks we wear only tell the stories we choose to share — stories shaped by an interplay of conscious and subconscious influences. Exploring the duality of public appearance and private experience in constructing identity, the works in this exhibition suggest the variety of ways we conceal and reveal facets of ourselves to the outside world.
The psychologically charged portraits of Masked investigate the roles we embody as individuals in both public and private realms.
The exhibition features photographs, prints, and sculpture from the Tang Collection by artists Marina Abramović, Nayland Blake, Jeanne Dunning, Phyllis Galembo, Daniel Gordon, Nancy Grossman, Yasumasa Morimura, Lillian Mulero, Eduardo Paolozzi, Man Ray, and Laurie Simmons.