In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Tufts University Art Gallery features Mortal Things: Portraits Looks Back and Forth, an exhibition about the changing role of artists and subjects and portraiture as a means for examining individual, social, and institutional identities. Drawing on the strengths of the Tufts' permanent art collection and the Gallery's dynamic record of thematic contemporary art exhibitions, Mortal Things: Portraits Look Back and Forthexamines the long arc of modern and contemporary portraiture through the conceptual, and sometimes literal, exchange of gazes between artists and subjects. With over 90 works in diverse media by 49 artists spanning from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, nearly all the works on view feature a legible human figure. To highlight the relationship between the artist and the subject at the core of portraiture, the concept of the gaze structures the exhibition in three sections: The Invisible Gaze, The Acknowledged Gaze, and The Self-Conscious Gaze.
The exhibition includes many new acquisitions on view for the first time, numerous other works from the permanent collection not seen in years, works by alumni and faculty from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and works on loan from area public and private collections. A centerpiece of the exhibit will be a marble bust of Abolitionist John Brown (from a plaster life mask made while Brown was imprisoned just prior to his execution) by Boston sculptor Edward Brackett. This bust has never been exhibited publicly and has not been on view on the Tufts campus in over 65 years. A fully illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition.
Mortal Things: Portraits Look Back and Forth is curated by Amy Ingrid Schlegel, Ph.D, with curatorial advisor and independent curator Rachael Arauz, Ph.D.
Artists featured: Kenneth Aidekman, Roswell Angier, Douglas Bane, Gerry Bergstein, Kim Berman, Blythe Bohnen, Edward Brackett, Jonathan Callan, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Patrick Carter, Charles Connick, Jiri David, Robert Doisneau, Elliott Erwitt, Walker Evans, Lee Friedlander, Ralph Gibson, Philippe Halsman, Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Juhan Kuus, Nancy Lawton, Danny Lyon, Alen MacWeeney, Rania Matar, Michael McCurdy, Sidney H. Morse, Cobi Moules, Catherine Murphy, Alice Neel, Dorothy Norman, Philip Pearlstein, Gilles Peress, Rachel Perry, Arthur Rothstein, John Singer Sargent, Jeannie Simms, Kiki Smith, Jo Spence, Brenda Star, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tseng Kwong Chi, Nari Ward, Emily B. White, John Wilson, Martha Wilson, Will Wilson, Joe Zane, and Barbara Zucker.