From Another Angle

Xavier Veilhan, Jean-Marc, 2012. Acier inoxydable, peinture polyurethane / Stainless steel, polyurethane paint; 400 x 141 x 108 cm / 157 ½ x 55 ½ x 42 ½ in. Courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm. Photo ©Stephen Smith; © Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, 2012 & ARS, New York, 2012 .

Xavier Veilhan, Jean-Marc, 2012. Acier inoxydable, peinture polyurethane / Stainless steel, polyurethane paint; 400 x 141 x 108 cm / 157 ½ x 55 ½ x 42 ½ in. Courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm. Photo ©Stephen Smith; © Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, 2012 & ARS, New York, 2012 .

Earlier this month, Xavier Veilhan installed Jean-Marc, his first permanent public sculpture in the U.S., a stone’s throw away from MoMA on the corner of 53rd Street and Sixth Ave. in New York City. Photos of the installation are up on the artist’s website. On a trip to attend the opening of Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut at MoMA, Phillips Director Dorothy Kosinski passed the giant blue sculpture and immediately noted “there seems to be a nice artistic symmetry between 53rd Street NYC and Q & 21st in D.C.” The sharp edges and larger-than-life quality of the sculpture do indeed bear a striking resemblance to Veilhan’s The Bear outside the Phillips.

(Left) Xavier Veilhan, The Bear, 2010. Painted polyurethane resin, 106 ¼ x 69 ¼ x 53 3/8 in. Private collection, USA. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong and Paris. Installation view, 2012, The Phillips Collection Photo © Lee Stalsworth © 2012 Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, and ARS, New York. (Right) Xavier Veilhan, Jean-Marc, 2012. Acier inoxydable, peinture polyurethane / Stainless steel, polyurethane paint; 400 x 141 x 108 cm / 157 ½ x 55 ½ x 42 ½ in. Courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm. Photo © Stephen Smith; © Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, 2012

(Left) Xavier Veilhan, The Bear, 2010. Painted polyurethane resin, 106 ¼ x 69 ¼ x 53 3/8 in. Private collection, USA. Courtesy Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong and Paris. Installation view, 2012, The Phillips Collection Photo © Lee Stalsworth © 2012 Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, and ARS, New York. (Right) Xavier Veilhan, Jean-Marc, 2012. Acier inoxydable, peinture polyurethane / Stainless steel, polyurethane paint; 400 x 141 x 108 cm / 157 ½ x 55 ½ x 42 ½ in. Courtesy Andréhn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm. Photo © Stephen Smith; © Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, 2012

Looking Inward: Artist Self-Portraits

Images of two sculptural self-portraits made by Xavier Veilhan

(Left) Xavier Veilhan, Xavier, 2006. Polyurethane, epoxy paint, 59 3/4 x 20 1/2 x 18 in. Private Collection, New York © 2012 Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, and ARS, New York Courtesy Gallerie Perrotin. Photo: André Morin (Right) Installation view of (IN)balance. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

If you haven’t been in person to see Xavier Veilhan’s sculptural self-portraits in his exhibition at the Phillips, (IN)balance, you’re in for a surprise. What you can’t tell from these image is that the statues are just shy of life-size. Measuring about 5 feet tall, these statues seem to be exact replicas of the artist—just tinier. This (no pun intended) small but significant detail begs the question: what is the purpose of a self-portrait? Is it to record a moment in time, to challenge oneself to make the truest likeness possible, to make an inward-looking statement, or all of the above?

Veilhan answered this question in part during a recent interview with Express‘s Mark Jenkins, stating “for me, they’re not really self-portraits. There is no attempt to show something psychologically about myself.” But what about the artists who do intend these likenesses to reveal something about themselves?

I looked to our own collection to investigate the relationship between artist and self-portrait, and found that I had a lot to work with. We have a stoic Paul Cézanne, a somber Käthe Kollwitz, a dark Edvard Munchthe list goes on. Among diverse styles, I found a consistent message: this is who I am as an artist, inside and out. In contrast to the free experimentation you might find in other works by these same artists, self-portraits tend to have calculated details. Cézanne’s facial features are constructed with his signature block-like brush strokes, Milton Avery strives to exemplify the bohemian artist (note the dangling cigarette, beret, and all), and Augustus Vincent Tack actually uses one of his own paintings as a backdrop.

My personal favorite self-portrait in The Phillips Collection is the one by Piet Mondrian. After a lifetime of associating this artist with stark, geometric grids, the fluid and painterly style he uses here came as a shock.

Amy Wike, Publicity and Marketing Coordinator

(Left) Piet Mondrian, Self-Portrait, c. 1900. Oil on canvas, 20 x 15 1/2 in. Acquired 1958. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (Middle) Milton Avery, Self-Portrait with Red Tam and Scarf, 1938. Oil on canvas, 22 in x 14 in. Gift of Louis and Annette Kaufman Trust, 2008. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (Right) Joseph De Martini, Self-Portrait, c. 1943. Oil on canvas, 48 7/8 x 30 1/4 in. Acquired 1943. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

A Lego Challenge By the Numbers

Legos at Pa5 Photo Collage

Phillips after 5 visitors use Legos to create sculptures inspired by the work of Danish artist Per Kirkeby

135 participants of all ages

3,300 Legos of all sizes

89 total Instragrams

51 submissions

8 winners

3 hours of fun

The Phillips’s first-ever Lego challenge was a great success! The tables in the Main Gallery were packed all night with Phillips after 5 guests who built their own Per Kirkeby-inspired masterpieces. Visitors snapped photos of their creations with Instagram and tagged their pictures #PhillipsPlaysWell, in honor of Lego’s Danish roots, for a chance to win prizes. Check out winning photos below, and find the rest of the submissions @phillipscollection on Instagram.

Margaret Collerd,  Public Programs and In-gallery Interpretation Coordinator

Lego winners collage

The winning photos. Clockwise from top left: Windy Tree by Andrew M., Fallen Tree III by cerin, Untitled by ianjannetta, Untitled by mrsmerkel, New Shadows by Jessica, Sans Titre by Chris Z., and On the Floor by matthewbaileyseigel.