Design museum - Eye Pop exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

Design museum: Eye Pop exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

In the age of selfies, social media and streaming videos, the idea of what makes a celebrity has expanded far beyond the Hollywood icons of the past. Now scientists, technology geeks, designers, writers and YouTube stars achieve fame alongside athletes and entertainers.

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Curators at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery have examined how celebrity images are cultivated and how they’ve evolved for the new exhibition ‘Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze,’ opening Friday. Oprah Winfrey, left, and Condoleeza Rice, are pictured in portraits by artist Mickalene Thomas

Design museum presents to you Eye Pop exhibition, a collection of celebrity portraits that allow us to question them and peel back its layers.

The piece, “(Pop) Icon: Britney, 2010” by artist Luke Dubois, is a digital video with custom wood frame that is part of the gallery. Instead of playing Spears’ music with the moving images, DuBois used the white noise reverberations of an Italian basilica.

Images of Brad Pitt, Barbra Streisand, Britney Spears, Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry made the cut, along with the founders of Google .

Pitt’s first painted portrait is being revealed for the first time. The two began collaborating in 2012 when Pitt asked Davidson to give him painting lessons. Pitt was drawn to Davidson’s style from other portraits. When they agreed that Davidson would paint Pitt’s portrait just before the actor’s 50th birthday, ‘he knew it wasn’t going to be the airbrushed, flattering way in which we normally see him,’ Davidson said.

Many of the portraits are being shown to the public for the first time.

Asma Naeem, assistant curator of prints and drawings, speaks about a painting of singer Katy Perry, by artist Will Cotton. Cotton, who designed the candy-land theme of Perry’s ‘California Girls’ music video, went on to design the album cover and then painted Perry’s portrait dressed in a cupcake wrapper and candy tiara.

See also, Design Museum: Contemporary art by Mu Boyan’s

The exhibition includes dozens of new paintings, photographs, sculptures and digital portraits by leading artists that the museum acquired in recent years. ‘Eye Pop’ will be on view through July 2016.