Submitted by The Preservation Society of Newport County
In collaboration with Art&Newport, The Preservation Society of Newport County will host “Pictus Porrectus: Reconsidering the Full-Length Portrait” at Isaac Bell House, beginning July 1.
This exhibition will be available for public viewing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Labor Day weekend, and afterward, on Saturdays and Sundays through October 2. The exhibition is included with admission to Isaac Bell House. Admission is by Preservation Society membership, or the One-House, Duo, Trio or Experience 5 tickets. For more information, visit NewportMansions.org.
“Our contemporary art initiative presents installations and exhibitions that explore and honor innovation, craftsmanship, and artistic creation,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “These principles correlate our past with our present and inform our future. This exhibition offers a wonderful opportunity to showcase the innovative and thought-provoking work of these contemporary artists in our historic houses.”
Curated by Art&Newport’s founder and Artistic Director Dodie Kazanjian and internationally renowned art historian Alison Gingeras, this exhibition of 23 full-length portraits by contemporary artists offers a revisionist look at a pictorial genre formerly reserved for kings, nobles, popes, members of the royal court and clergy with great wealth and power. After the American and French Revolutions, secular members of “high society” and elected leaders were also given this treatment, reflecting the shifting values of the Enlightenment era, thus somewhat expanding the genre.
As practiced by a new generation of contemporary artists, full-length portraiture has become a powerful vehicle for depicting a more diverse array of subjects from a multitude of identities, classes and communities. These artists have reshaped the full-length portrait into a vital and inclusive genre.
The artists featured in “Pictus Porrectus” include John Currin, Jenna Gribbon, Chase Hall, Sally J. Han, Andrew LaMar Hopkins, Dennis Kardon, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Deana Lawson, Sophie Matisse, Sam McKinniss, Ruby Neri, Aliza Nisenbaum, Nicolas Party, Celia Paul, Elizabeth Peyton, Umar Rashid, Malick Sidibé, Henry Taylor, Salman Toor, Piotr Uklanski, Aleksandra Waliszewska and Albert York.
In addition to the works displayed at Isaac Bell House, there is a specially commissioned portrait of Hope “Happy” Hill van Beuren by Sam McKinniss installed in the Rosecliff Salon. This full-length depiction is in the same room as full-length portraits of van Beuren’s father, Nathaniel Peter Hill, and grandmother Mrs. Crawford P. Hill. Happy and her husband, “Archie,” have long championed Newport County and its residents, as well as the island’s history, architecture, gardens and open spaces. She is a longtime patron of the arts and supporter of the Preservation Society.
Art&Newport works closely with local institutions, the town of Newport, and its tourism board to educate and create programming that will make use of the city’s natural landscape and its history as a place for contemporary art and artists. Although not called a festival, the model is George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival, which since 1954, has brought in, and often introduced, the best and most avant-garde musicians of the time. Contemporary art, like jazz, is an international language that often deals powerfully and directly with the most pressing issues of our time. It can challenge our assumptions, pushing us and opening our minds to new thinking about the future. The goal is to put Newport, with its unique institutions and natural riches, on the map as a place to learn about and share the ideas and visions that only art and artists can provide. Art&Newport will build on and further establish our town’s reputation as a leading cultural destination.
About The Preservation Society of Newport County
The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks – span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.