Jun 18, 2010

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Presents “Americans Now”

“Americans Now,” drawn from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, features portraits of outstanding individuals in the realms of science, business, government and the arts. The exhibition opens Aug. 20 and will be on view through June 19, 2011.

The show includes such familiar names as Erykah Badu, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Tom Hanks, Tony Hawk, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Willie Nelson, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison and Martha Stewart. It also features those who are less widely known but are leaders in their fields. These figures have been portrayed by some of the most prominent artists of our era: Chuck Close, Robert McCurdy, Elizabeth Peyton, Martin Schoeller, Kehinde Wiley and Dan Winters. The wide range of sitters continues with an iconic image of President Barack Obama by Shepard Fairey and a portrait of Michelle Obama by artist Mickalene Thomas.

The exhibition showcases a variety of media. Examples include a projected video—The Late Night Triad by Jason Salavon, which features Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman—and video portraits of George Clooney and LeBron James that are a created through a process pioneered by Lincoln Schatz.

“The National Portrait Gallery’s collection tells the story of America through those who have influenced American history and culture,” said Martin Sullivan, director of the museum. “‘Americans Now’ uses portraits from our holdings to examine the impact of those people who have helped shape our country.”

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000; (202) 633-5285 (TTY). It is only closed Dec. 25 and open 364 days from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Website: