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Artists

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Photographer Garry Winogrand (1928–1984) is known for his sweeping portrait of American life during the postwar decades. His photographs powerfully combine the hope and exhilaration as well as the anxiety and turbulence that characterized America during these vital years, revealing a country that glitters with possibility but also threatens to spin out of control. In 1977, Winogrand was invited by photographer and professor Geoff Winningham to speak with students at Rice University in Houston. For more than two hours, Winogrand entertained questions from students on a broad array of topics; a selection from this seminar is shown here. This video was produced by the National Gallery of Art in conjunction with the exhibition Garry Winogrand, organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. © Geoff Winningham, 1977

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Over the course of three days, from February 14 to 16, 2007, Mel Bochner and his assistant Nicholas Knight installed Theory of Boundariesat the National Gallery of Art. The work, whose size is determined by the length of the wall on which it is installed, consists of four squares of equal size, each separated by a space equal to one-third of the width of a single square. Following the principles determined by the "language fraction" of each square (hence the work's title, Theory of Boundaries), dry pigment is applied directly to the wall, with each of the four squares demonstrating a different relationship of the color surface to its border and state of enclosure.

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This excerpt is from a documentary produced by the National Gallery of Art that includes archival footage of Edward Hopper (1882–1967), new footage of places that inspired him in New York and New England, including his boyhood home in Nyack and his studio on Washington Square, where he lived and worked for more than 50 years. Narrated by actor and art collector Steve Martin, this film traces Hopper's varied influences, from French impressionism to the gangster films of the 1930s. Artists Red Grooms and Eric Fischl discuss Hopper's influence on their careers. Curators discuss recent and diverse perspectives on Hopper's art. The film is made possible by the HRH Foundation. Produced in conjunction with the exhibition Edward Hopper.

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Over the course of seven hours, on June 5, 2008, Martin Puryear and 12 art handlers installed Ladder for Booker T. Washington at the National Gallery of Art in the West Building, Rotunda. This time-lapse movie demonstrates the process of hoisting the 36-foot-long ash and maple sculpture into the Rotunda in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art. Produced in conjunction with the exhibition Martin Puryear.

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Multiverse (2008), a site-specific LED sculpture by Leo Villareal, is currently on view in the Concourse walkway connecting the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. The sculpture, which includes approximately 41,000 LED (light-emitting diode) nodes controlled by custom-designed software, is Villareal's largest and most ambitious work to date. Learn more about the artist's programming method as well his conceptual and technological inspiration in this studio interview. The sculpture was generously funded by Victoria P. and Roger Sant, and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller.

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Multiverse (2008), a site-specific LED sculpture by Leo Villareal, is currently on view in the Concourse walkway connecting the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. The sculpture, which includes approximately 41,000 LED (light-emitting diode) nodes controlled by custom-designed software, is Villareal's largest and most ambitious work to date. Learn more about the artist's programming method as well his conceptual and technological inspiration in this studio interview. The sculpture was generously funded by Victoria P. and Roger Sant, and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller.

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Multiverse (2008), a site-specific LED sculpture by Leo Villareal, is currently on view in the Concourse walkway connecting the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. The sculpture, which includes approximately 41,000 LED (light-emitting diode) nodes controlled by custom-designed software, is Villareal's largest and most ambitious work to date. Learn more about the artist's programming method as well his conceptual and technological inspiration in this studio interview. The sculpture was generously funded by Victoria P. and Roger Sant, and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller.

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Multiverse (2008), a site-specific LED sculpture by Leo Villareal, is currently on view in the Concourse walkway connecting the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. The sculpture, which includes approximately 41,000 LED (light-emitting diode) nodes controlled by custom-designed software, is Villareal's largest and most ambitious work to date. Learn more about the artist's programming method as well his conceptual and technological inspiration in this studio interview. The sculpture was generously funded by Victoria P. and Roger Sant, and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller.

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Multiverse, (2008), a site-specific LED sculpture by Leo Villareal, is on view in the Concourse walkway connecting the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. The sculpture, which includes approximately 41,000 LED (light-emitting diode) nodes controlled by custom-designed software, is Villareal's largest and most ambitious work to date. Watch Gallery staff and volunteers install the LED nodes over the course of 65 days (the process was captured in 58,296 photographs). The sculpture was generously funded by Victoria and Roger Sant and Sharon P. and Jay Rockefeller.

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In her breakthrough 1990 work Ghost, Rachel Whiteread created a positive from a negative, making a plaster cast of the interior "void" of a Victorian parlor measuring approximately 9 feet wide, 11 1/2 feet high, and 10 feet deep. Whiteread has said of this sculpture that she was trying to "mummify the air in the room," hence the title. Whiteread created Ghost over a period of three months in an abandoned building at 486 Archway Road, North London, covering the interior walls with multiple plaster molds, each about five inches thick. When the plaster dried, she peeled the molds from the walls and reassembled them on a steel frame. In this interview Whiteread discusses the process of making Ghost and lends new insight to her work.

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Years after campaigns against minority Armenians in Turkey caused his family to disperse and his mother to die before his eyes, Gorky found a 1912 photograph taken in the city of Van upon which he based drawn and painted portraits of The Artist and His Mother. The video Ararat (Excerpts) investigates the fraught history of Gorky's lost childhood through his protracted work on the image of himself at age twelve, standing beside his mother Shushan. Derived from the feature-length film Ararat written and directed by Academy Award®-nominated director Atom Egoyan.

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Brice Marden continues to make some of the most surprising and ravishing paintings of our time. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was known for matte, monochromatic paintings, often with multiple panels. His 1984 visit to an exhibition of Japanese calligraphy triggered a dramatic shift in style that culminated in a masterful series of gestural paintings and drawings entitled Cold Mountain. Since that time, through several further changes in vocabulary, Marden has continued to explore linear networks as the basis for ambitious, allover abstractions. In this video, recorded in October 2009 in the artist's Manhattan studio, Marden discusses his technique, sources of inspiration, and works in progress with Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art.

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Veteran Swedish director Jan Troell has been called one of the world's greatest living filmmakers. As part of the ongoing series New Masters of European Cinema, the director and his partner/screenwriter Agneta Ulfsäter-Troell visited the National Gallery of Art to discuss their latest project, the award-winning feature film Everlasting Moments (2008), and to share a rare screening of Troell's remarkable first short film Stop-over in the Marshland (1965), starring Max von Sydow.

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The award-winning film The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg offers a fascinating portrait of a poet and photographer who helped define postwar American counterculture. Originally released in 1994, Jerry Aronson’s documentary was rereleased in 2005 with additional hours of interviews with numerous contemporary artists and cultural figures, among them Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, and Norman Mailer. Two screenings of the film were held at the National Gallery of Art in September 2010, and the new edition of the two-disk set is available through the Gallery Shop.

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Ann Hamilton presented a lecture on her nearly 30-year career as part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series at the National Gallery of Art on September 16, 2011. Hamilton has made multimedia installations with stunning qualities and quantities of materials: a room lined with small canvas dummies, a table spread with human and animal teeth, the artist herself wearing a man's suit covered in a layer of thousands of toothpicks. Along the way, she has constantly set and reset the course of contemporary art. Often using sound, found objects, and the spoken and written word, as well as photography and video, her objects and environments invite us to embark on sensory and metaphorical explorations of time, language, and memory. Textiles and fabric have consistently played an important role in her performances and installations—whether she is considering clothing as a membrane or (more recently) treating architecture itself as a kind of skin. The Gallery owns 15 works by the artist, including photographs, prints, sculptures, and a video installation.

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Joel Shapiro, artist
On October 28, 2012 at the National Gallery of Art, Joel Shapiro presents a lecture on his nearly 50-year career as part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series. Born in 1941 in New York City, Shapiro received BA and MA degrees from New York University. Since his first exhibition in 1970, Shapiro has become one of the most widely exhibited American sculptors and the subject of many solo exhibitions and retrospectives, and his work can now be found in numerous public collections in the United States and abroad. His work, from early minimal objects to increasingly expansive and complex forms, has always dealt with such central issues of the sculptural tradition as size and scale, balance and imbalance, figuration and abstraction. He believes that all sculpture is a projection of thought into the world, and he strives to create intimacy and vitality in all his projects. Shapiro lives and works in New York City. The Gallery owns 16 works by the artist, including drawings, prints, and sculptures.

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The new ongoing film series American Originals Now focuses on the work of internationally recognized filmmakers from the Americas, and offers visitors an opportunity to interact with and share in the artists' production methodologies and current practices. The inaugural program brought recent short works by filmmaker Jem Cohen and a screening of his award-winning 1999 documentary Instrument, made in collaboration with DC-based band Fugazi. Cohen was present for both events; during the latter of the two he was joined by Fugazi frontmen Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto

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A centennial screening of the 1912 film Robin Hood and rare presentation of the Maurice Tourneur film Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915) with live piano accompaniment are introduced by film historian Richard Koszarski, author of Fort Lee, the Film Town and Hollywood on the Hudson. Koszarski's presentation outlines the influence of French culture on early cinema production and investigates the history of the studios, the directors, and the stars established in Fort Lee, New Jersey, known as the "birthplace of the motion picture industry."

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Kerry James Marshall has exhibited widely in both the United States and abroad and is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, among other honors. His work often explores the experiences of African Americans and narratives of American history that have historically excluded black people. Drawing upon the artist’s prodigious knowledge of art history and African diasporic culture, his paintings combine figurative and abstract styles and multiple allusions. In Marshall’s art, the past is never truly past: history exerts a constant, often unconscious pressure on the living. In this program recorded on June 26, 2013, exhibition curator James Meyer and Kerry James Marshall discuss the works and themes of his exhibition In the Tower: Kerry James Marshall, on view at the Gallery from June 28 to December 8, 2013.

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On October 27, 2013, Kerry James Marshall discusses his painting Great America (1994), acquired by the National Gallery of Art in 2011 as a gift of the Collectors Committee, and the inspiration for the Gallery’s exhibition In the Tower: Kerry James Marshall, on view June 28 through December 8, 2013. 

One of the most celebrated painters currently working in the United States, Marshall explores through his work the experiences of African Americans and the narratives of American history that have often excluded black people. In Great America, Marshall represents the Middle Passage as a haunted theme park ride, indirectly suggesting instead of specifically depicting the slave trade. The Middle Passage was the middle leg of the triangular trade of manufactured goods, crops, and human cargo between Europe, Africa, and the Americas during the colonial era through the 1850s. 

Drawing upon the artist’s prodigious knowledge of art history and the African diaspora, Marshall’s paintings combine figurative and abstract styles and multiple allusions, from both “high” and “low” sources. In Marshall’s art the past is never truly past: history exerts a constant, often unconscious pressure on the living. This interview followed Marshall’s participation in a panel discussion titled Making It: Race and Class in Contemporary America, held on the occasion of the artist’s In the Tower exhibition.

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On March 28, 2014, in honor of the National Gallery of Art’s acquisition of his Collection of Four Hundred and Eighty Plaster Surrogates (1982/1989), Allan McCollum discusses the origin of his plaster surrogates and surrogate paintings. McCollum is interested in the context in which paintings are shown and the idea of a painting being part of a diverse set of objects considered collectibles. Applying strategies of mass production to handmade objects, he has spent nearly 50 years exploring how works of art achieve personal and public meaning in a world largely constituted within the manners of industrial production. This interview takes place on the East Building Mezzanine following McCollum’s participation in the Elson Lecture Series.

 

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Jennifer Reeves, featured artist. Filmmaker Jennifer Reeves visited the National Gallery of Art on May 30, 2015, to introduce her film The Time We Killed (2004), a feature-length, experimental narrative that delves inside the mind of an agoraphobic writer unable to leave her New York apartment in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001. In this talk, Reeves discusses her approaches to filmmaking and the specific ways in which this feature addresses themes of memory, mental health and recovery, feminism, sexuality, and politics.

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Susan Meiselas, artist. In 1990 the National Gallery of Art launched an initiative to acquire the finest examples of the art of photography and to mount photography exhibitions of the highest quality, accompanied by scholarly publications and programs. In the years since, the Gallery’s collection of photographs has grown to nearly 15,000 works encompassing the history of the medium from its beginnings in 1839 to the present, featuring in-depth holdings of work by many of the masters of the art form. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of this initiative, the Gallery presents the exhibition The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund. On view from May 3 through September 13, 2015, The Memory of Time explores the work of 26 contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history. In this lecture recorded on May 31, 2015, Susan Meiselas discusses the themes and broader historical context of the installation The Life of an Image: “Molotov Man,” 1979-2009 featured in the exhibition. This installation traces the life and authorship of this iconic image taken during the last days of the Nicaraguan revolution in 1979.

 

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Susan Meiselas, artist. In 1990 the National Gallery of Art launched an initiative to acquire the finest examples of the art of photography and to mount photography exhibitions of the highest quality, accompanied by scholarly publications and programs. In the years since, the Gallery’s collection of photographs has grown to nearly 15,000 works encompassing the history of the medium from its beginnings in 1839 to the present, featuring in-depth holdings of work by many of the masters of the art form. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of this initiative, the Gallery presents the exhibition The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund. On view from May 3 through September 13, 2015, The Memory of Time explores the work of 26 contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history. In this lecture recorded on May 31, 2015, Susan Meiselas discusses the themes and broader historical context of the installation The Life of an Image: “Molotov Man,” 1979-2009 featured in the exhibition. This installation traces the life and authorship of this iconic image taken during the last days of the Nicaraguan revolution in 1979.

 

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Mark Ruwedel (American, b. 1954) is a photographer who examines the interaction between society and the landscape of the western United States, creating works that are in his words “about the interrogation of human values, not only about beauty or geology.” Active as a professional photographer since the 1970s, Ruwedel has often focused on nature’s reclamation of land over time, as in the series Westward the Course of Empire (1994–2007), in which he turned his lens to the faint traces of the railroad lines that once snaked through the West. His photographs capture the dramatic cuts through landmasses, scattered remains of trestles, and the lingering imprint of the long-forsaken tracks in the subtle grade of the terrain. Ruwedel’s more recent series Dusk (2007–2010), a study of derelict houses in the California desert, similarly addresses the relationship between natural and built environments. In these projects and others Ruwedel examines the landscape not to marvel at its splendor, but rather to better understand how history is written into its topography.

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Sally Mann, artist. In this presentation recorded on June 21, 2015, at the National Gallery of Art, acclaimed photographer Sally Mann reads from her revealing memoir and family history, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs. In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann's preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are described as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her. Sorting through boxes of family papers and yellowed photographs she finds more than she bargained for: "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land . . . racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder." Mann crafts a totally original form of personal history that has the page-turning drama of a great novel, but is firmly rooted in the fertile soil of her own life.

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Deborah Luster, artist. In 1990, the National Gallery of Art launched an initiative to acquire the finest examples of the art of photography and to mount photography exhibitions of the highest quality, accompanied by scholarly publications and programs. In the years since, the Gallery’s collection of photographs has grown to nearly 15,000 works encompassing the history of the medium, from its beginnings in 1839 to the present, featuring in-depth holdings of work by many masters of the art form. Commemorating the 25th anniversary of this initiative, the Gallery presents the exhibition The Memory of Time: Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Acquired with the Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund. On view from May 3 through September 13, 2015, The Memory of Time explores the work of 26 contemporary artists who investigate the richness and complexity of photography’s relationship to time, memory, and history. For more than 20 years, artist Deborah Luster has been engaged in an ongoing investigation of violence and its consequences. In this lecture held on the exhibition’s closing day, Luster discusses the evolution of her work from One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana and Tooth for an Eye: A Chorography of Violence in Orleans Parish, as well as her current project at Louisiana’s Angola Prison.

 

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David C. Driskell, artist, curator, and Distinguished University Professor of Art, Emeritus, University of Maryland at College Park; Ellington Robinson, artist, professorial lecturer of painting at American University, and professorial lecturer of drawing at Montgomery College, Takoma Park. David C. Driskell is the only speaker in National Gallery of Art history to participate in programming as an artist, collector, and scholar. In this conversation recorded on November 1, 2015, Driskell returns to discuss the role of the mentor with artist Ellington Robinson. Both artists present the genesis and evolution of their work, sharing their experience with important mentors and their training together at the University of Maryland, College Park. This program is held in collaboration with the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. The discussion coincides with New Arrivals 2015: Collecting Contemporary Art at the University of Maryland, an exhibition featuring Robinson’s work that was on view at the Stamp Gallery from September 21 through December 18, 2015.

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Leo Villareal, artist, in conversation with Molly Donovan, associate curator, department of modern art, National Gallery of Art. Born in 1967 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Leo Villareal began experimenting with light, sound, and video while studying set design and sculpture at Yale University, where he received his BA. He earned his Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in the design of new media, computational media, and embedded computing from New York University’s pioneering interactive telecommunications program at the Tisch School of the Arts. There he also learned the programming skills that enable him to push LED (light-emitting diode) technology far past familiar commercial applications. Since the 1960s, a growing number of artworks have exploited light to frame and create spaces in the built environment. While Villareal’s art acknowledges this influence, his concepts relate more closely to the instructional wall drawings of Sol LeWitt and the systems-based paintings of Peter Halley. Villareal’s work is represented in the Gallery’s collection by Multiverse, one of his largest and most complex light sculptures. As part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series held at the National Gallery of Art on May 7, 2016, Leo Villareal and Molly Donovan discuss his site-specific commissions throughout the world since the installation of Multiverse in 2008.

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Elsa Mora, artist, and Magda González-Mora, curator of Elsa Mora: Timeline, and in conversation with Michelle Bird, curatorial assistant, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Elsa Mora (b. Holguín, Cuba, 1971) graduated from the Professional School of Visual Arts in Camagüey in 1990. Mora was invited to teach as a visiting artist in residence at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. She has since completed several residencies at US universities and the MoMA Design Store. In her Timeline series, Mora examines her surreal personal journey and the surprising lessons she has learned along the way. Works in a variety of media—from photography and drawing to paper cutting—represent a timeline of events that have shaped her life from childhood in Cuba to adulthood in the United States. In her own words, “I’m endlessly curious about human stories, especially those related to survival, inner growth, and connectivity.” In this conversation, held on May 9, 2016, as part of the Works in Progress series at the National Gallery of Art, Mora discusses the National Arts Club exhibition of Timeline in relation to her full body of work with the show’s curator, Magda González-Mora, and National Gallery of Art curatorial assistant Michelle Bird.

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Elsa Mora, artist, and Magda González-Mora, curator of Elsa Mora: Timeline, and in conversation with Michelle Bird, curatorial assistant, department of French paintings, National Gallery of Art. Elsa Mora (b. Holguín, Cuba, 1971) graduated from the Professional School of Visual Arts in Camagüey in 1990. Mora was invited to teach as a visiting artist in residence at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996. She has since completed several residencies at US universities and the MoMA Design Store. In her Timeline series, Mora examines her surreal personal journey and the surprising lessons she has learned along the way. Works in a variety of media—from photography and drawing to paper cutting—represent a timeline of events that have shaped her life from childhood in Cuba to adulthood in the United States. In her own words, “I’m endlessly curious about human stories, especially those related to survival, inner growth, and connectivity.” In this conversation, held on May 9, 2016, as part of the Works in Progress series at the National Gallery of Art, Mora discusses the National Arts Club exhibition of Timeline in relation to her full body of work with the show’s curator, Magda González-Mora, and National Gallery of Art curatorial assistant Michelle Bird.

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Lee Ewing, National Gallery of Art photographer, explores the challenges of photographing Edgar Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. The only sculpture that Degas exhibited during his lifetime, Little Dancer is one of the Gallery’s most important works. So fragile that it is rarely moved, this masterpiece is known for its unique mixed media: pigmented beeswax, a cotton bodice and tutu, linen slippers, and human hair. This video provides an inside look at the process of bringing this most human of artworks to life through photography.