ELKHART — The exhibit “American Portraits: Identity, Persona, & Power” continues through Sept. 30 at the Midwest Museum of American Art, 429 S. Main St.
Director/Curator Brian Byrn has assembled more than 100 examples of American portraiture from the museum’s permanent collection joined with additional portraits of people created by 12 living artists from across the Michiana region and beyond.
Themes of identity, persona and power, in particular, are highlighted.
Portraiture in America began as a record of wealthy landowners, their wives, and children. Sometimes the favorite steed, cow or hunting dog precluded the images of family.
As the country developed, the wealthy and powerful — male industrialists and presidents and important politicians — continued to dominate American portraiture as subjects.
But with the advent of photography in the 19th century, more and more people began to have their portraits recorded.
In the 20th century, the persona of a subject became an important ingredient to the mythologizing of Americans, particularly politicians, actors and fictional characters represented in advertising.
Now, in the 21st century, portraiture more likely conveys a person’s brand or image, but the common person with no intentions of being famous can now be recorded more easily than ever before and post their likenesses on Instagram or Facebook as a digital portrait.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission is $10-$6; free for ages 7 and younger.
For more information, call 574-293-6660 or visit midwestmuseum.org.