Disembodied: Portrait Miniatures and Their Contemporary Relatives

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By Cory Korkow with Dario Robleto

One of the finest collections in North America, the CMA’s miniatures span six centuries, bridge eight European countries as well as America, and number nearly 170 objects. These intimate portraits were exchanged by friends, lovers, and family members as tokens of affection and often commissioned on occasions of departure, marriage, or death. For 600 years, miniature painters were deeply engaged with issues of death, likeness, memory, identity, privacy, and body-centered scale. This exhibition reawakens the spirit of these works, which are removed by hundreds of years from the hands into which they were originally placed, and includes works by five prominent contemporary artists—Janine Antoni, Luis González-Palma, Tony Oursler, Dario Robleto, and Hiroshi Sugimoto—who are invested in exploring these same themes today. The contemporary works are placed in an unprecedented, intimate dialogue with the portrait miniatures, revealing new relationships and uncovering hidden secrets.

90 pages

Published 2013