Monday, December 05, 2011

National Portrait Gallery Special Exhibitions

The Black List: Photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Through April 22, 2012

Historically, “blacklist” denotes a group of people marginalized and denied work or social approval. In an effort to redefine the term, these portraits of 50 African Americans reclaim the term “blacklist” to be affirming, influential and powerful. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Elvis Mitchell worked together to develop a list of people whom they thought would represent the African American experience in the 20th century. Greenfield-Sanders created large-format fine-art photographs, and Mitchell interviewed the subjects on film; the portrayals provide insight on the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in the United States. The portraits represent some of the most dynamic and inspiring personalities in the fields of politics, music, business, civil activism, literature, the arts and athletics, as well as a few people who are not as recognizable but who are influential in their fields. The exhibition includes 50 photographs and an ongoing video of the accompanying interviews.

Some of the featured photographs include those of American political activist and university professor Angela Davis; musician John Legend; Michael Lomax, chairman and CEO of the United Negro College Fund; artist Kara Walker; and actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist and composer Melvin Van Peebles. The Black List Project was conceived by photographer/filmmaker Greenfield-Sanders with Mitchell, NPR correspondent and former New York Times film critic.

The National Portrait Gallery is a part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000; TTY (202) 633-5285. Web site: The National Portrait Gallery is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Dec. 25.

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