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Face to Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture

Face to Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture offers new perspectives on one of art's oldest genres. In the age of social media, when the demand to represent our selves has become a daily imperative, portraiture is more ubiquitous than ever and constantly evolving. In depicting the most familiar element of our identity--the human face--artists allow us to glimpse some measure of a subject's character, personal biography, social status, and emotional state, and more broadly, offer insight into the human condition. Drawn from LA-based collections, the more than forty works in this exhibition demonstrate changing approaches to portraiture from 1984--CAAM's founding--until today.

Bringing historic and more recent works together in a range of mediums, the exhibition is arranged around shared gestures, composition, and subject matter. This thematic organization allows the works speak to each other in new and unexpected ways, looking across generations and contexts to explore the continued and even renewed significance of the human figure in art. Through their diverse approaches to portraiture, the artists included in Face to Face--Lyle Ashton Harris, Titus Kaphar, Amy Sherald, Mickalene Thomas, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, among others--raise provocative questions about who we are and how we perceive, represent, and remember others. Taken together, their works offer critical images of self-determination, love, desire, intimacy, resistance, and commemoration--interrogating the complex relationship between our external image and our inner lives.

Los Angeles Collects is a new series inspired by a historic exhibition mounted by pioneering art dealer Alitash Kebede. Reimagined at CAAM, Los Angeles Collects celebrates the instrumental role Los Angeles collectors play in supporting artists. Face to Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture is curated by Naima J. Keith, Deputy Director, Exhibitions and Programs and Diana Nawi, Associate Curator, Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Image: Amy Sherald, Pythatgore (detail), 2016. Oil on canvas, 54 x 43 in. Collection of Arthur Lewis and Hau Nguyen, courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago