Portraiture Now: Staging the Self

Image:  Bear Hair Study (detail) by Carlee Fernandez, C-print, 2004. Courtesy of the artist and ACME., Los Angeles. ©Carlee Fernandez

Portraiture Now: Staging the Self

On view: through

The National Portrait Gallery presents at the Americas Society Portraiture Now: Staging the Self, one in a series of exhibitions that showcase some of the most creative twenty-first-century portrait artists.


Portraiture Now: Staging the Self features the work of six contemporary U.S. Latino artists—David Antonio Cruz, Carlee Fernandez, María Martínez-Cañas, Rachelle Mozman, Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, and Michael Vasquez—who present identities theatrically, in order to rid portraiture of its reassuring tradition that fixes a person in space and time.


Through their works these artists address personal or family issues, telling stories that they remember or imagine from their past, manipulating images of themselves, or superimposing portraits of their loved ones on their own. Like actors searching for a character, they explore the boundaries of individuality. In the process, portraiture loses its aura of certainty and instead becomes an evolving map for finding oneself and others.

Historic Salt Prints and ‘Bear Studies’

The Wall Street Journal

The Americas Society’s Art Gallery is showing work by six U.S. Latino artists, including four photographers, grappling with their identities.

Exhibition Funders

The exhibition Portraiture Now: Staging the Self has been organized by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center.

The exhibition has been made possible through the federal support of the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center; Univision Communications, Inc.; the Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows; and the Rebecca Houser Westcott Fund for “Portraiture Now.”

The presentation of the exhibition at Americas Society is made possible by the generous support of Jaime and Raquel Gilinski, Genomma Lab Internacional, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.