When two forms or motifs are presented together, or doubled, our eyes can’t help but compare them.
Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Emmett), 2008, printed 2022. Chromogenic print, framed: 123.19 x 185.42cm, image: 111.76 x 177.8cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Funds from Ryan E. Lee and Lee Group Holdings (LGH), Heather and Jim Johnson Fund, Kend Family Fund, and Peter Edwards and Rose Gutfeld Fund 2022.36.1 © Rashid Johnson, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Doubling focuses and divides our vision; it causes us to “see double” and identify differences and similarities in what we observe. The art of the double causes us to see ourselves seeing. ‘The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900’ is the first major exhibition to consider how and why artists have employed doubled formats to explore perceptual, conceptual, and psychological themes.
Presenting more than 120 works made from the beginning of the 20th century to today, this expansive show is organised in four parts: seeing double; reversal; dilemma structures; and the doubled and divided self. Artists in the exhibition explore questions of identity and difference – the difference between the original work and a copy, the identity of the art with the artist, and especially self-identity as defined by our own unconscious, by society, as well as by race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of differentiation.
Spanning the East Building’s Atrium and Concourse galleries, the exhibition assembles a range of remarkable sculptures, paintings, videos, photographs, and works on paper by some 90 outstanding modern and contemporary artists, including Janine Antoni, Diane Arbus, Alighiero Boetti, Mel Bochner, Marcel Duchamp, Gilbert and George, Félix González-Torres, Arshile Gorky, Renée Green, Eva Hesse, Roni Horn, Graciela Iturbide, Joan Jonas, Kerry James Marshall, Jasper Johns, Rashid Johnson, Seydou Keïta, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Henri Matisse, Josiah McElheny, Nam June Paik, Howardena Pindell, Adrian Piper, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. Related programming, performances, and a fully illustrated companion book will invite visitors to engage with the inspired and challenging work of these artists.
The exhibition will be on view from the 10th of July until the 31st of October 2022. For more information, please visit The National Gallery of Washington.