Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Deana Lawson’s color photograph The Garden, Gemena, DR Congo (2015), newly acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art, will be included in a major exhibition celebrating portraiture from the past century. Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection features more than 300 works made from 1900 to 2016 by an extraordinary range of more than 200 artists. The Garden will be on view in the “Body Bared” section on Floor Seven starting April 27, 2016, through February 12, 2017.
Photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar, and Deana Lawson, among others, unabashedly question cultural assumptions about gender, race, beauty, and power, giving voice to groups and individuals often marginalized by both the traditions of portraiture and mainstream American culture. By transforming nudity from a classical ideal into something decidedly personal, contemporary, and idiosyncratic, these artists compel us to confront the complex and often contradictory feelings elicited by the human body: fascination and repulsion, shame and pleasure, inhibition and freedom.
— Whitney Museum of American Art
Listen to Lawson’s commentary on The Garden: