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Facing History—Contemporary Portraiture

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Issue 2465

This exhibition features a variety of portraits by contemporary artists and photographers.

They include Julian Opie and Grayson Perry.

It looks at how modern artists used old forms of portraiture—from silhouettes to death masks—to inform their art.

You can see the influence of earlier artists, such as Frida Kahlo.

US artist Brian Cohen has used charcoal to create an eerie image of actor Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in the TV series Breaking Bad (see above). 

The image is meant to resemble the style of a death mask, with closed eyes and a shaved head.

Many of the artists have also adapted contemporary items, such as ID cards and election posters. 

Victoria and Albert Museum,
London SW7 2RL.
Free entry


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