Our neighbors at the Smithsonian American Art Museum are holding an #ArtBirds Social Media Scavenger Hunt during September and October, and if there’s one animal that you’ll see over and over again in works at The Phillips Collection, it’s birds. We have a lot of them. We thought it only fitting to jump in on the fun! This week’s theme is “Birds of Prey,” so we’re submitting this photo of an oddly cheerful boy who’s about to come into direct contact with a hawk roughly the size of his head. Happy #ArtBird-watching!
These three portraits, recent acquisitions for the museum, are currently the only thing displayed in a small gallery at the Phillips. Take a moment to look at each one. What are the similarities? What are the differences?
It’s not until we look at the labels that we realize what creates the small nuances in color and line between the three works—each one is a different form of print. Artist Alex Katz is known for his arresting simplicity of line and form, bright, flat colors, and a powerful graphic punch that link them to commercial art and popular culture. By generalizing the features of a sitter or a landscape, and removing any expressive or emotional content, Katz focuses instead on formal properties of light, scale and color.