Elizabeth Peyton: Aire and Angels, National Portrait Gallery - FREE - ★★★★ - Until January 5, 2020


This is the first time the National Portrait Gallery has integrated portraits by a contemporary artist into its permanent collection as well as providing a separate space to show that work. It is a novel and interesting concept. The juxtaposition of the pieces not only illuminates Peyton's practice but creates an interesting conversation with the Gallery's historical portraits. The
"interventions" are presented alongside works in the Tudor collection, the seventeenth-century collection and the Victorian collection and open new perspectives on what has often become familiar there. Peyton uses a wide variety of media and her subjects range from friends to pop stars, from contemporary personalities in art and politics to historical figures such as Napoleon and Elizabeth I. The curatorial premise of the exhibition is introduced in the Lerner galleries' display of her work alongside a portrait of the metaphysical poet, John Donne. Indeed, the title of the exhibition is taken from his work and it sets up the question of the relationship between the ethereal and the physical. How Peyton takes up this challenge of the portrait painter, to express the abstract through the concrete, is cleverly presented in this show by placing her in the tradition of her predecessors.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until January 5, 2020
Sat - Thu: 10 am - 6 pm, Fri: 10 am - 9 pm
Lerner Galleries, National Portrait Gallery
Nearest station: Leicester Square

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