The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has selected Lincoln Schatz’s 2008 commission for Esquire magazine, Portrait of the 21st Century for inclusion in their collection. The series of nineteen portraits, which includes George Clooney, Jeff Bezos and LeBron James, will be on view beginning Aug. 20 in the exhibition “Americans Now” through 2011.
Curators and historians at the National Portrait Gallery recommend to the museum’s commission (a board of 17 people who serve in an advisory role for the museum) a selection of objects portraying those who have made significant contributions to American life and culture. The works are chosen for their biographical and aesthetic impact and are created in a wide variety of mediums– paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs and video art.
“The National Portrait Gallery’s collection represents the story and identity of America through the art of portraiture,” said Martin Sullivan, director of the museum. “I am thrilled that these new subjects are now a part of our collection and can contribute to our telling of the American story.”
Collecting images of people in different media is important to the historical record, can add insight to a person’s biography and allows the museum to rotate objects on and off view to preserve fragile works. These new acquisitions will join more than 20,000 others in the Portrait Gallery’s collection; they represent the thousands of people who have made a significant impact on the history and culture of America.
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the history of America through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists who tell the American story.
The Portrait Gallery was established by an Act of Congress in 1962 and opened to the public in 1968. It is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000; (202) 633-5285 (TTY). Website: npg.si.edu.