The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery has selected Lincoln Schatz's 2008 commission for Esquire
magazine, Portrait of the 21st Century,
for inclusion in their collection. The series of 19 portraits, which includes George Clooney, Jeff Bezos, and LeBron James, will be on view beginning August 20 through 2011 in the exhibition "Americans Now."
"The National Portrait Gallery's collection represents the story and identity of America through the art of portraiture," said Martin Sullivan, director of the museum. "I am thrilled that these new subjects are now a part of our collection and can contribute to our telling of the American story."
Schatz's portraits were also featured in Esquire's magazine's 75th Anniversary issue, which examines the century that is just beginning, in part by profiling the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. Esquire commissioned Schatz to create a work that would unite many of these people in a single dynamic portrait.
Schatz created dozens of individual portraits in his Cube, a ten-foot-by-ten-foot translucent box fitted with 24 cameras that stream digital video to 24 computers. During each one-hour sitting, Cube subjects were encouraged to represent their personalities, interests, and values in whatever ways they chose. Then, using thousands of these video files, Schatz created a portrait made up of a randomized, perpetually evolving progression of overlapping images. Moored in the moment but never quite the same thing twice, Schatz's "generative" portraits have an infinite ability to reconfigure perception and reorder time.
For more information, or to view a documentary on the project, click here.