How do we identify ourselves, and each other? Historically, portraiture has been lauded as the “true” and complete measure of an iconic figure’s status. But many contemporary artists also see the portrait as a means to question why and how we profile individuals, and what those images stand for. The portraits in this gallery move beyond likeness to explore issues of character, identity, psychology, relationships, and memory. Multipart or singular, fractured or paired, crisp or a faded blur—they show us, as Glenn Ligon’s painting, Untitled (James Baldwin), quotes, that “no true account… can be held, can be contained.”
The Towles Gallery is one of eight contemporary galleries that opened in 2011 as part of the dynamic Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art. These galleries present innovative approaches to the exhibition of contemporary art within the context of the Museum’s encyclopedic collections, offering new perspectives and encouraging connections between art of the present and past.