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Posted inArt

A Man’s Portraits Over 60 Years, Set Against the Backdrop of a Changing China

In 2007, Chinese photography collector Tong Bingxue received a phone call from a man seeking an appraisal for a recently purchased book of photo portraits. As Bingxue recounts in A Life in Portraits, a quick examination of the book revealed a startlingly unique, unified subject: one man’s yearly portrait, taken faithfully and consecutively from 1907 until his death in 1968.

Posted inArt

Repatriation Through Portraiture: Giving Narrative to Disability

Many studies of anatomy and the beauty of the human body are all about symmetry and proportions, a sort of endless steamrolling of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” through art history. Yet that barely explores the incredible diversity of human forms. It’s the “variant body” that artist Riva Lehrer examines in teaching anatomy at the Art Institute of Chicago and in her series of portraits responding to her own disability, as well as to anyone who lives in a body that feels outside what’s perceived as “normal.”

Posted inArt

Our Selfies, Ourselves

There was a period when I didn’t know what, exactly a “selfie” was. It sounded like a euphemism for something. Now I know that it’s just a self-portrait — our medium of choice for Facebook and Instagram (RIP). Two recent phenomena, faked selfies and art critic Brian Droitcour’s #artselfies, take the format to the next level.

Posted inArt

Beyond the Portrait’s Blank Stare

Currently on view in the refectory at Union Theological Seminary are 16 beige painted rectangles, including one ensconced in a prewar, built-in, gilded mold over the large fireplace. The rectangles are silhouettes of the portraits of former Union board members and school presidents that traditionally occupy the space. The portraits’ absence, along with an accompanying publication, make up an exhibition titled About Face: Portraits at Union Theological Seminary, by artist Cathy Busby.

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