Multiple Identities

Portraits from the New York University Art Collection

January 11–April 2, 2005



New York City, January 7, 2005. The Grey Art Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Multiple Identities, an exhibition exploring the art of the portrait through selected works from the New York University  Art Collection. On view at the Grey Art Gallery from January 11 through April 2, 2005,  Multiple Identities features over 30 works spanning four centuries, with artists ranging from New York to Tehran. Representing a rich cross-section of styles and cultures, the exhibition charts many of the significant developments within portraiture while also challenging our understanding of them.

Conceived as a complement to the concurrent Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography, A Project by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari, the exhibition Multiple Identities  presents a unique opportunity to showcase works from the too-little-known NYU Collection. Founded in 1958,  the NYU collection has grown substantially over the years and today numbers over  4,800 works, with particularly strong holdings in modern American art—powerfully represented in this exhibition by the work of Jim Dine, Alex Katz, and Andy Warhol, among others. Also of note are the collection’s holdings in contemporary non-Western art, acquired through the gift of approximately 700 works by the gallery’s founder, Abby Weed Grey. Amassed by Mrs. Grey on her numerous trips to Asia and the Middle East in the 1960s and 1970s, this unusual collection includes modern works from countries as diverse as Japan, Thailand, India, Nepal, Iran, and Turkey, the latter two represented in Multiple Identities in the works of Parviz Tanavoli and Nevin Islek.

Featuring a wide range of media—from prints and drawings to painting and photography—Multiple Identities examines the myriad possibilities of portrait-making and raises issues concerning representation that remain vital for many artists working today.  While providing a meditation on portraiture, Multiple Identities also offers a glimpse into the diverse character of  NYU’s permanent holdings—and in so doing, itself serves as a portrait of the collection.


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