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About Face
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About Face: Contemporary Portraiture

This exhibition will explore the breadth and global diversity of contemporary photographic portraiture since 2000, highlighting recent acquisitions to the museum’s permanent collection.

About Face will include works by twenty-nine artists from the United States, England, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Iran and South Africa. Though each of these photographers approaches portrait-making differently, certain thematic threads resonate throughout the show, including questions of racial, cultural, ethnic, class and gender identity; the relationship between individuals and typologies; the way photographic processes themselves inform meaning; the relevance of historical precedents to contemporary practice; and the impact of media stereotypes on self-presentation. Considered collectively, the works in About Face offer a provocative and engaging forum for considering the question: how do we define portraiture today?

For this exhibition, co-curators Jane L. Aspinwall and April M. Watson at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are partnering with creator Andy Adams to create a collaborative exhibition project focusing on contemporary portraiture.

The project will present two distinct, simultaneous exhibitions: About Face, our in-gallery exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins, and Making Pictures of People, a digital exhibition presented online for web-based audiences worldwide. Visitors will be able to access the Flak Photo exhibition via touch screens in the gallery and on mobile devices outside the museum.

The goal of our collaboration is twofold: to celebrate the complementary experiences of engaging with photographs as objects and as images, and to connect museum visitors in Kansas City with an international community deeply engaged in thinking about portraiture and contemporary photographic practice.

Untitled (Julia and Greenery) by Jocelyn Lee
Jocelyn Lee, American (b. Italy, 1962). Untitled (Julia and Greenery), 2005. Chromogenic print, Sheet: 23 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2011.12.48.
Artists Included in About Face

Gohar Dashti
Deanna Dikeman
Gloria Baker Feinstein
LaToya Ruby Frazier
Ben Gest
Jim Goldberg
Myra Greene
Rachel Herman
Philip Heying
Pieter Hugo
Ken Kitano
Richard Learoyd
Jocelyn Lee
Andrea Modica
Laura McPhee
Michael Robinson

Lise Sarfati
Tomoko Sawada
Anna Shteyushleyger
Lauren Simonutti
Sage Sohier
Alec Soth
Jerry Spagnoli
Joni Sternbach
Hank Willis Thomas
Dylan Vitone
Charlie White
Vanessa Winship
Michael Wolf

This exhibition is supported by the Hall Family Foundation and the Campbell-Calvin Fund and Elizabeth C. Bonner Charitable Trust for exhibitions.