Harn Museum explores the creation, meaning and importance of portraits
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Harn Museum explores the creation, meaning and importance of portraits
Umberto Boccioni, 1(882 – 1916), Untitled Portrait, c.1909. Pastel on paper. Gift of Larry and Marita Jacobs.

GAINESVILLE, FL.- The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida presents a new exhibition that explores the creation, meaning and importance of portraits. Spanning multiple mediums, time periods and places, Much Ado About Portraits includes more than 100 works of sculpture, paintings, ceramics, bronzes, photography, prints, drawings and film, dating from before the Common Era to the present day. Notable modern and contemporary artists featured in the exhibition, include: Umberto Boccioni, Diego Rivera, Isamu Noguchi, Maggie Taylor and Jerry Uelsmann as well as former and current UF Faculty members: Hiram Williams, Kenneth Kerslake and Richard Heipp. The exhibition is on view from May 28 through Sept. 8.

This exhibition, for the first time, uses examples from each of the museum’s main collecting areas to investigate the question of why we create portraits. Curators in each department submitted works for consideration and lead curator, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art Jason Steuber made the final selections. The Harn Museum’s collections consist of more than 9,000 works of art focusing on African, Asian, contemporary and modern art, and photography. Loans from private collections also are included.

“Whether formal, religious, historical, imaginative or political, each and every portrait carries meanings intended by the artist, and those assigned to it by viewers,” said Jason Steuber. “It will be fascinating for visitors to explore those meanings and learn about the similarities and differences of portraits from different times and places.”

Steuber continued: “Portraits capture human moments, values and concerns of the society within which they were created. Subtle and direct effects are therefore embedded within each image by both the one producing the portrait as well as the one being portrayed.”

Also included are portraits and self-portraits of and by artists that experiment with the idea of what is considered a portrait, including Victor Hugo by Andy Warhol and Les Bijoux Indiscrets by René Magritte. The exhibition also touches on technology and the advancement of cameras and cell phones and the instant opportunities to create portraits.

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