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The Performative Self-Portrait

The Performative Self-Portrait

[Providence, RI] RISD Museum presents “The Performative Self-Portrait,” an exhibition that explores the complexity of identity through photographic self-portraits.

Featuring more than twenty artists, the exhibition demonstrates the potential of photography to enact the self, investigate history, and articulate identity.

In the fifty photographs ranging from 1930 to the present, the camera is a means “to understand, activate, and perform selfhood,” the Rhode Island School of Design-sited Museum tells us.

“As questions of identity — from race, gender, sexuality, and ability to religion, nationality, profession, and politics, are increasingly at the fore of national conversations — the artists featured in ‘The Performative Self-Portrait’ turn the camera back on themselves.

“In some cases, these artists are exploring the materiality of their bodies or highlighting the ways they identify. Others are locating themselves in history, playing with narratives, or questioning the very limits of what identity can do.”

We do this all the time, by mistake, when we pull our mobile phone camera out of our pocket.

RISD Museum presents “The Performative Self-Portrait” through Nov. 12, 2023.

24HourNation lists museum exhibitions on our website if a museum is open past 6 p.m. at least once a month. We believe American museums disregard the potential and demographics of nighttime patrons. In addition to its daytime hours, RISD is also open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. So, this Providence, Rhode Island Museum squeaks by our threshold. #EveryMuseum in America could be open late at least once a month. Most are not. We are grateful that RISD Museum stays open a little late for those who cannot (or do not want to) visit a museum by day.


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