Modern portraiture often returns to the human face as a focus, striving to capture a fleeting smile, glance, or grimace able to denote multitudes about a subject’s emotional state. The exploration of how such intimate nuances transcend the capacity of words informs the J. Paul Getty Museum’s new exhibit, In Focus: Expressions, comprised of 45 works drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, including those by contemporary photographer Alec Soth, documentarian Milton Rogovin, and Nancy Burson, the 70-year-old pioneer of computer generated portrait creation known for her work with face composites.
From a reflection of the detrimental and reductive study of physiognomy—the perceived link between the face and human psyche and morality—to an engagement with current developments in facial recognition technology and the literal and figurative concept of the mask, the exhibit, curated by assistant curator of photographs Karen Hellman, urges viewers to think deeply and critically of what they see when face to face with another.
In Focus: Expressions is on view from May 22 to October 7, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles.
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