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Exhibition Press Release

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Curator Biography:
Sarah Kennel

Photograph Collection

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(202) 842-6353
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(202) 842-6353

Release Date: September 6, 2012

Celebrating The Serial Portrait: Photography And Identity In The Last One Hundred Years With an Array of Related Programs


Film still from The Woodmans (C. Scott Willis, 2010, 82 minutes), to be shown at the National Gallery of Art on November 28, 29, and 30, 12:30 p.m. Image courtesy of Kino Lorber

Washington, DCThe National Gallery of Art will present a number of programs in honor of The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years, on view in the West Building from September 30 through December 31, 2012. An opening-day lecture, film programs, digital brochure, and gallery talks explore the themes of the exhibition.

All programs are free of charge in the East Building Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lecture Program

The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years
September 30, 2:00 p.m.
Ksenya Gurshtein, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow, National Gallery of Art, and Sarah Kennel, associate curator of photographs, National Gallery of Art

Film Programs

The Woodmans
preceded by The Fancy
November 28, 29, and 30, 12:30 p.m.
A recent documentary, The Woodmans investigates the legacy of photographer Francesca Woodman as experienced by her parents and older brother, all of whom are successful practicing artists. Not surprisingly, their perspectives—at once familiar and distanced—rely heavily on the impressive body of provocative work Francesca left before her suicide in 1981 at age 22. (C. Scott Willis, 2010, 82 minutes)

Completed before the recent scholarly interest in Woodman's work, Subrin's short video The Fancy is groundbreaking in its approach to a highly elusive subject. The filmmaker "meticulously sifts physical evidence and sketchy facts in an attempt to uncover the traces of a seemingly suppressed history embedded behind the photographers' pictures."—Nicole Armour (Elizabeth Subrin, 2000, 36 minutes)

James Benning
Internationally renowned artist and faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts, James Benning has been lauded as a structural filmmaker throughout his prolific career, though his work is grounded in a variety of film practices. For more than four decades, he has influenced the cinematic avant-garde. Known for composed long takes with an acute sensitivity toward out-of-frame sound, Benning's films (and now high-definition recordings) are intense studies of places, travels, landscapes, and more recently, individuals.

Twenty Cigarettes
December 8, 2:30 p.m.
Film stock and tobacco use are purported to be in decline, both perceived as cultural remnants only dabbled in by die-hards these days. While recording with the most up-to-date digital technology, Benning uses the duration of a lit cigarette as the framing device for each subject in this series of portraits. One pack, 20 people: each intimately framed and alone with the camera for as long as it takes them to smoke just one. (2011, HD, 99 minutes)

small roads
James Benning in person
December 8, 4:30 p.m.
Presenting 47 shots of roads crisscrossing the United States from the Pacific coast to the Midwest, this film is best described, according to Benning, "by making a list of the roads in question and the cars that drive on them." An excerpted list of shots 11 through 14: "11. CA Hwy 178: no vehicles. 12. Badwater Rd: 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe, black; 2001 Toyota Sequoia, green. 13. Arizona Hwy 85: 2003 Ford F350 pickup, black; 2009 Lincoln MKX, black; 2008 and 2009 Ford F150 (Border Patrol) pickups, white. 14. White Sands Rte 10: 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup, black." (2011, HD, 103 minutes)

the war
James Benning in person
December 9, 4:30 p.m.
Benning's most recent work uses YouTube footage from the radical Russian art collectives Voina (War) and Pussy Riot, both recently involved in legal struggles with the Russian government. (2012, work in progress, HD)

Digital Brochure

The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years will be accompanied by a digital brochure presenting a closer look at seven of the artists featured in the exhibition. Illustrated by 22 photographs, it will be available to download from the National Gallery of Art website.

Gallery Talks

The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years
October 23, 24, 26, 31, noon
November 1–4, 28–30, noon
Adam Davies
West Building Rotunda
60 mins.

Bread and Roses: The Photographs of Milton Rogovin
in The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years
November 7, 15, 17, 19, noon
Maryanna Ramirez
West Building Rotunda
20 mins.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

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