We’ve Got Your Back

Quite a few submissions at our American Moments make-your-own portrait station have literally turned their backs on traditional portraiture. One participant was even inspired by a photograph from the Phillips’s visitor’s guide to the museum! What do you think the people in these portraits are looking at?

Clockwise from top left: C.S.E; Phillips Collection Visitor’s Guide; Siana from Kensington, MD; Anonymous; and Anonymous.

Clockwise from top left: C.S.E; Phillips Collection Visitor’s Guide; Siana from Kensington, MD; Anonymous; and Anonymous.

Spotlight on Intersection@5: Jeanne Silverthorne

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Silverthorne_Dandelion Clock

Jeanne Silverthorne, Dandelion Clock, 2012. Platinum silicon rubber, phosphorescent pigment on wire, 33 x 29 x 16 in. The Hereward Lester Cooke Memorial Fund, 2014. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC

Dandelion Clock is a contemporary vanitas, a reminder of transience and mortality. It is infected by signs of morbid excess (the giant size), decay (the faded or “blown” flower), and toxicity (it glows in the dark). Collapsing under the weight of history and new technologies, traditional studio practice is an excavation of the past, offering an archeology of loss. Flirting with the genre of the floral painting, Dandelion Clock embraces the baroque exuberance and post-modern melancholy of the nearly extinct.

Jeanne Silverthorne

A Closer Look: Esther Bubley’s American Moments

Jean Bubley, director of the Esther Bubley Photography Archive, discusses the work of her aunt Esther Bubley featured in American Moments: Photographs from The Phillips Collection. Jean will give a gallery talk at the Phillips Thursday, August 27.