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Art Museum to present ‘Best Face Forward’

January 19, 2011
"Nikolas" by Dawoud Bey

"Nikolas" by Dawoud Bey

The NIU Art Museum will present “Best Face Forward: The Presented View,” a journey through studio portraiture, from Tuesday, Jan. 25, through Friday, March 11.

The public is invited to an opening reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27. 

“Best Face Forward: The Presented View” combines photographic studio portrait works by artists Dawoud Bey and Nora Herting with anonymous 19th century tintypes and early 20th century “mug shots” from the private collection of Charles Rudolph and Polaroids by Andy Warhol donated to the NIU Art Museum Collection by the Warhol Foundation.

Each body of work explores a different aspect of the circular relationship between photographer, subject and audience.

Herting’s work investigates the making of portraits as performance and examines the conventions of photographic representation. Bey delves into formal and psychological concepts of presence and exchange between photographer/subject.

Bey’s work demonstrates a comfortable bond between subject and photographer, and also utilizes large-scale Polaroids which contrast, in scale and subject matter, from the small ”famous” subjects depicted by Andy Warhol, and the historic tin-types and mug-shots of “infamous,” anonymous persons.

"Precious" by Nora Herting

"Precious" by Nora Herting

Observing these works together, one can envision the sensitive dance between subject and photographer: Whose image does the photograph end up being?

Located on the west-end first floor of Altgeld Hall, the galleries are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment for group tours.

Exhibitions and lectures are free; donations are appreciated. Pay parking is available in the visitor’s lot on Carroll Avenue and at metered spots in front of Altgeld Hall. Free parking is available Saturdays and during receptions and visiting artist lectures in the lot northeast of Gilbert and College Drives.

The exhibitions of the NIU Art Museum are funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, the Friends of the NIU Art Museum, and the Arts Fund 21.

For more information, visit or call (815) 753-1936.