Self-Portrait in Convex Mirror
A Portfolio Inspired by John Ashberry's Poem
On View: September 18, 2013 - January 5, 2014
Morelle Lasky Levine '56 Works on Paper Gallery
Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, a portfolio featuring the eponymous poem by John Ashbery, layers allusion and inspiration in a cycle that parallels its circular format. Ashbery wrote his Pulitzer Prize?winning 1973 poem in response to Francesco Parmigianino's 1523-24 painting of the same name (pictured), a virtuoso self-portrait made bizarre by its perfect depiction of a morphed reality.
In this 1984 portfolio published by the Arion Press, the poem has been letterpress-printed on sheets of circular, handmade paper, the lines radiating from the center like the spokes of a wheel. Interspersed between the pages of text are eight images, by artists such as Richard Avedon, Jim Dine, Elaine de Kooning, and Willem de Kooning, which Ashbery describes as "taking the poem away from itself and amplifying it in ways I had never anticipated." Weaving the visual through the lingual in intimate ways, this project illuminates the self, highlighting the vagaries of its individual moments of existence.
Curated by Elaine Mehalakes, Kemper Curator of Academic Programs, this exhibition is made possible through generous support from the Marjorie Schechter Bronfman '38 and Gerald Bronfman Endowment for Works on Paper.