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.

Posted inNews

Ravishing Shakespeare Portrait on View in NYC

Even though we all think we know what Shakespeare looks like from our middle school Hamlet textbooks, only one portrait was (probably) painted in the writer’s lifetime. In this singular work now on view at New York City’s Morgan Library, Shakespeare is a total 17th century hottie with glowing skin, a stylish goatee and overwhelmingly large collar. Sexy. Unveiled in 2009, the quality and age of the portrait means it is now believed to be the original in a long line of Shakespeare portraits, the ancestors of our textbook copies.