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July 29, 2021 (June 09, 2022)

“The Double” in Modern Art Explored in Expansive Exhibition

Rashid Johnson, "The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Emmett)"

Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Emmett), 2008, printed 2022
Chromogenic print, framed: 123.19 x 185.42 cm (48 1/2 x 73 in.), image: 111.76 x 177.8 cm (44 x 70 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Funds from Ryan E. Lee and Lee Group Holdings (LGH), Heather and Jim Johnson Fund, Kend Family Fund, and Peter Edwards and Rose Gutfeld Fund
© Rashid Johnson, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Washington, DC—When two forms or motifs are presented together, or doubled, our eyes can’t help but compare them. Doubling focuses and divides our vision; it causes us to “see double” and identify differences and similarities in what we observe. The art of the double causes us to see ourselves seeing. On view in the National Gallery’s East Building from July 10–October 31, 2022, The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900 is the first major exhibition to consider how and why artists have employed doubled formats to explore perceptual, conceptual, and psychological themes.

Presenting more than 120 works made from the beginning of the 20th century to today, this expansive show is organized in four parts: seeing double; reversal; dilemma structures; and the doubled and divided self. Artists in the exhibition explore questions of identity and difference—the difference between the original work and a copy, the identity of the art with the artist, and especially self-identity as defined by our own unconscious, by society, as well as by race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of differentiation.

Spanning the East Building’s Atrium and Concourse galleries, the exhibition assembles a range of remarkable sculptures, paintings, videos, photographs, and works on paper by some 90 outstanding modern and contemporary artists, including Janine Antoni, Diane Arbus, Alighiero Boetti, Mel Bochner, Marcel Duchamp, Gilbert and George, Félix González-Torres, Arshile Gorky, Renée Green, Eva Hesse, Roni Horn, Graciela Iturbide, Joan Jonas, Kerry James Marshall, Jasper Johns, Rashid Johnson, Seydou Keïta, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Henri Matisse, Josiah McElheny, Nam June Paik, Howardena Pindell, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Related programming, performances, and a fully illustrated companion book will invite visitors to engage with the inspired and challenging work of these artists.

Exhibition Dates

National Gallery of Art, July 10–October 31, 2022

Exhibition Organization and Curator

The exhibition is curated by James Meyer, curator of modern art, National Gallery of Art.

Organized by the National Gallery of Art.

Exhibition Support

The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation has provided major support for the exhibition.

It is also generously supported by Dr. Mihael Polymeropoulos and Mrs. Mahy D. Polymeropoulos.

Additional funding is provided by the Tower Project of the National Gallery of Art.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Related Programs


Dark Mirrors: The Double in Cinema
July 10–October 30, 2022
East Building Auditorium; free registration required at

Adding to the exhibition experience, a film series, Dark Mirrors: The Double in Cinema, taps into the rich history of doubled forms in motion pictures with stories of twins, clones, alter egos, revenants, dream selves, and doppelgängers. The series incorporates adventure movies, crime stories, comedies, literary adaptations, and tales inspired by real-life events. Throughout its history, cinema has created techniques such as the split image, multiple exposures, motion control, and other tools to portray multiple elements within the frame on the big screen. Important works of cinematic doubling will be introduced by distinguished scholars Tom Gunning, Annette Insdorf, Susan Felleman, and John Klacsmann, and the artist Aime Siegel, who will discuss her film practice.

Lectures and Symposium

Elson Lecture Series: Howardena Pindell
July 14, 2022, 6:00 p.m.
Virtual; free registration required at

Howardena Pindell, artist, author, activist, researcher, museum professional, and Distinguished Professor of Art, State University of New York, Stony Brook; in conversation with James Meyer, curator of modern art, National Gallery of Art.

Pindell’s work Free, White and 21 is in the National Gallery’s collection and in The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900.

Jorge Macchi
July 20, 2022, 6:00 p.m.
Virtual; free registration required at

Conversations with Artists: Mel Bochner and James Meyer
September 22, 2022, 3:00 p.m.
East Building Auditorium; free registration required at

October 21 and 22, 2022
Organized by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and with support from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

Related Content

Videos and Stories
New videos on the National Gallery’s YouTube channel will explore different facets of the exhibition and its artists. Released throughout the run of the exhibition, videos will include a Two-Minute Tour and episodes of Artists at Work and Your New Favorite Artist. On the National Gallery’s blog, stories will offer readers an introduction to the exhibition’s themes, deeper dives into single works, and excerpts from the exhibition publication.

Published by Princeton University Press in association with the National Gallery of Art, a fully illustrated companion book expands upon themes presented in The Double. In addition to a survey text by James Meyer, the book includes thought-provoking essays by leading scholars Julia Bryan-Wilson, Tom Gunning, W.J.T. Mitchell, Hillel Schwartz, Shawn Michelle Smith, and Andrew Solomon on topics including the concept and ethics of the double, the double and psychoanalysis, double consciousness, the doppelgänger in silent cinema, and the queer double. The publication is made possible by the generous support of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, John F. Wieland Jr., and anonymous donors. The book will be available for purchase in the National Gallery Shops, online at, or at 800.697.9350.

Contact Information

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]

Chief of Communications
Anabeth Guthrie
phone: (202) 842-6804
e-mail: [email protected]

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