The Blacklist

I went back to the National Portrait Gallery (in the National American Art Museum), this time for a curated tour of “Blacklist“, a series of 50 portraits of notable African Americans, spanning sports, entertainment, the fine arts, politics, and policy. First, how fancy did I feel walking around with a private curated tour? As I joined the group, one of the guides said “I”m sorry, this is a private tour.” And I replied “Oh, I know. I’m with ——.” Oh, what now?


My terrible personality aside, the exhibit is very, very impressive. These larger than life portraits line the walls in deep deep detail, appearing super human. And I mean extremely, incredibly, approachable human, and greater than humanly possible at the same time. The subjects seem to look you in the eye, and gaze past you into the distance, simultaneously. The portraits are full of dignity and beauty and power.


A large part of what makes the portraits so arresting is the size and quality of the image. There is an amazing sense of realism, Standing in front of the portraits, I felt like I was having a silent conversation with each one. If you can, see the exhibit. If you can’t, the website does a far better job showing the portraits than my camera does.



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