Selfie: Self Portraits from the Permanent Collection

DECEMBER 18, 2015 – APRIL 24, 2016

Selfie: Self Portraits From the Permanent Collection considers both well-known and little seen self-portraits from the Des Moines Art Center’s permanent collections through the filter of popular culture’s obsession with the “selfie”. Works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Anthony van Dyke, Chuck Close, Cindy Sherman, Mauricio Lasansky and Danny Lyon among others span the 17th century to the present. The Early Renaissance gave rise to the popularity of the self-portrait by painters, sculptors and printmakers. In many cases mirrors were used to assist artists in creating their likeness, while in modern times the camera, both still and moving, has enabled artists to create the final work. One of the most recent works in the exhibition is a video self-portrait by the conceptual artist Ragnar Kjartansson titled “Me and My Mother 1,” 2001, in which the artist asks his mother to repeatedly spit in his face for 10 minutes.

Selfie considers this history in relation to the rise of the self-portrait in social media. Statistical sources online confirm that Instagram has over 53 million photos tagged with the hashtag #selfie, while the word “selfie” was mentioned in Facebook status updates over 368,000 times during a one-week period in October 2013, offering compelling statistical evidence of an ongoing and fundamental human desire for self-representation.

This exhibition has been organized by Senior Curator Gilbert Vicario and Assistant Registrar / Curatorial Assistant Megan Cohen.

See Yourself in the Exhibition

As part of Selfie: Self Portraits from the Permanent Collection, we're asking visitors to become a part of the exhibition! Post your own selfie with the hashtag #ArtCenterSelfie to have your image included on our gallery display. 

Participating is easy:

  1. Make sure your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile is public. We won't be able to pull images from private accounts
  2. Take a great selfie with a piece that inspires or means something to you (whether it's at the Art Center or in your own art community)
  3. Be sure to include the hashtag #ArtCenterSelfie
  4. You’re done!

Selfie Logo Block

entirely unexpected