In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary added “selfie” and named it the Word of the Year. Despite its omnipresence, there is a world of photographic self-portraiture that clearly does not fall into selfie-dom (but yes, mea culpa, museums now only exist for the creation of even more selfies).
To understand this best, come visit This Is Not A Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, featuring works from LACMA’s permanent collection on view at the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at ArtCenter in Pasadena before it closes this weekend.
Through the highly personal vantage point of the self-portrait, the Irmases, along with their daughter, Deborah, assembled the most significant collection of the subject in the United States, one that traverses the visually compelling and psychologically charged terrain of the genre.
The exhibition offers a compelling look at the primacy and variety of expressions within self-portraiture in the “Age of the Selfie.” While it could be considered a vernacular subset of the self-portrait genre, the selfie is often a vastly different enterprise than the self-portrait in the hands of an artist. The exhibition features artists who expand the domains of self-portraiture by blurring the distinction between reality and fantasy, artifice and authenticity, and public and private imagery.
Self-reflection, performance, confrontation, and memory are traced from early 19th-century experiments through to contemporary digital techniques. This Is Not A Selfie provides an opportunity to view the remarkably innovative and diverse methods photographers use, offering new meanings into our own understanding of the self.
This Is Not A Selfie is on view through Sunday, June 3, at the Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery at ArtCenter in Pasadena before traveling to the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, Florida, where it will be on view from August 25 through November 25, 2018. Learn more about the self-portraits in the accompanying publication.