Portrait show explores sexual identity in art


By Anna Peirano


An exhibition focusing on sexual differences in the making of modern American portraiture will make it’s final stop at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington. “HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” will run from March 17-June 10th, after it’s premiere at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. and the Brooklyn Art Museum. 


Called an “historic event” by the New York Times, the exhibition explores themes such as the role of sexual different in depicting modern America; how artists explore the fluidity of sexuality and gender; how major themes in modern art were influenced by social marginalization; and how art reflected society’s evolving and changing attitudes toward sexuality, desire, and romantic attachment. 


The content on display begins with the late 19th century works by Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent. It continues through the 20th century with artists like Romaine Brooks, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol. The visual dialogue then turns to the end of the 20th century with Keith Haring, AA Bronson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, about life, love, and death during the AIDS crisis. Finally, it charts the reassertion of gay and lesbian civil rights in the 21st century.


“Tacoma Art Museum is excited to be a part of the national discourse. HIDE/SEEK redefines how modern American portraiture is viewed through the lens of gender and sexuality identity,” said Stephanie A. Stebich, Director of Tacoma Art Museum. “This exhibition comes at a time of historic legislation and we have a rich history of presenting compelling programs that spur ideas and dialogue within our community.”


For more information, visit the gallery’s website here

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