Drawn entirely from MMoCA’s permanent collection, Mirror Image presents the evolution of the portrait from the early twentieth century to the present. A mirrored reflection of the presence of both artist and sitter, portraiture has long been a part of the history of art. While often depicting physical likeness, portraiture also addresses issues of identity and the personality of an individual. The introduction of the photograph, alongside the movement to abstraction, shifted the portrait from an elite mode of documentation to a more conceptual approach of representing self and other.
Today the contemporary practice of portraiture is even more accessible through the ubiquitous social media phenomenon of the selfie. Throughout history, the portrait remains a means for engagement with others and for the memorialization of self. Mirror Image contains over 100 portraits—over half haven’t been on view in over two decades, including 30 works that have never been on view. The exhibition features work by artists Gertrude Abercrombie, Ivan Albright, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Warrington Colescott, Jim Dine, David Hockney, Alex Katz, Käthe Kollwitz, Henri Matisse, Jim Nutt, Diego Rivera, and Karl Wirsum.
Generous support to date for Mirror Image has been provided by JoAnne Robbins and David Falk; the Theda and Tamblin Clark Smith Family Foundation; Chuck Bauer and Chuck Beckwith; a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; and MMoCA Volunteers.