This Is Not A Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection

Cindy Sherman
Untitled, Film Still #5, 1977
Gelatin silver print
6 ¾ × 9 ½ inches
The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection

Thursday, August 24, 2017Sunday, January 14, 2018

This exhibition and accompanying illustrated catalogue look at the primacy and variety of expression through self-portraiture from the vantage of the “age of the selfie.” While the selfie can be considered a common version of the self-portrait genre, it is often vastly different from the self-portrait in the hands of an artist. By blurring the distinction between reality and fantasy, artifice and authenticity, and public and private imagery, the artists whose work is included in This Is Not a Selfie carefully fabricate photographs that expand the domain of self-portraiture. With the selfie firmly in place, it is a particularly prescient moment to revisit the enduring pursuit of the photographic self. The exhibition includes photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Alfred Stieglitz, and Andy Warhol, among others. It traces themes of self-reflection, performance, confrontation, and memory from early nineteenth-century experiments through to contemporary digital techniques. The sixty-eight self-portraits included are drawn from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, which is considered the single most significant collection of the subject in the United States. 


This Is Not a Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and guest curated by Deborah Irmas with the curatorial team of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at LACMA. SJMA’s presentation is organized by Rory Padeken, associate curator. It is sponsored by Dr. Jan Newstrom Thompson and Paul Goldstein.