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Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction

Until 11 Jan 15, National Portrait Gallery (NPG), Washington, DC, USA

In 1975, the American poet John Ashbery published a short book titled Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. The name was borrowed from a Parmigianino picture painted around 1524 that Ashbery took as the central theme of the book’s title poem. Ashbery later called his piece a “Mannerist work”, much like the art of the 16th-century painter, but also admitted some more contemporary influences: “the Abstract Expressionist idea that the work is a sort of record of its own coming-into-existence” had “rubbed off” on the writer. It also rubbed off on... Read on

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