A Theater of Manners: Portraits of the Wealthy, Social Nobility and Politically Powerful

Jim Dow, “The Dining Room, Morgan Library, New York City” (1999 / 2010)

Jim Dow, “The Library, Metropolitan Club, New York City” (1999 / 2010)

Jim Dow, “The New York Society Library, NYC”

Annie Leibovitz, “Queen Elizabeth II” (2007)

Martin Parr, France. Paris, “Haute Couture” (2007)

Daniela Rossell, “Paulina with Lion, Mexico”

A Theater of Manners: Portraits of the Wealthy, Social Nobility and Politically Powerful

Portraits and Power: People, Politics and Structures is a collection of photographs showing the seldom seen hidden lives of the wealthy, social nobility and politically powerful persons of our times. The collection is currently on exhibition at The CCCS, Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, Italy. The images portray the representatives of a social class that normally exercises careful control over the circulation of pictures of its members, whether in the form of family photographs or of official portraits.  The photographs unveil the game of social roles and attitudes conducted by the subjects, a veritable Theater of Manners, which demands enough sensitivity on the viewers’ part for them to focus on those details in the pictures that render hidden and non-immediately obvious features visible.

In addition, many of the photographs present an authentic and rare view of the architecture, furnishings and frameworks of some of the most exclusive private circles of New York City, circles that have a long and significant history, such as the renowned Metropolitan Club. Though there are over twenty such circles of this kind in New York City, outsiders will very seldom notice their presence. Presently, an increasing number of politicians and businessmen are choosing to meet in these secluded rooms, which public opinion often perceives as places of intrigue and the setting for various kinds of secret appointments. The photographs give a face to these exclusive meeting places, inviting viewers to  admire the timeless opulence of their rooms.

Portraits and Power: People, Politics and Structures

Slide Show: Theater of Manners/Portraits of the Wealthy, Nobility and Politically Powerful

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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A Beautiful Mind: Stephen Wiltshire Draws New York City from Memory

A Beautiful Mind: Stephen Wiltshire Draws New York City from Memory

Steven Wiltshire (born 1974) is an accomplished architectural artist who has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder.  Wiltshire’s work has been the subject of many television documentaries; neurologist Oliver Sacks praised his artistic work in the chapter Prodigies in his book An Anthropologist on Mars.  Stephen Wiltshire’s many published art books have included Cities (1989), Floating Cities (1991) and Stephen Wiltshire’s American Dream (1993).

Wiltshire is presently working to complete his last drawing in a series of city panoramas, this time of his spiritual home, New York City.  Wiltshire’s collection of  already completed works depicting some of the world’s most iconic cities already includes London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Rome, Madrid, Frankfurt, Dubai, and Jerusalem.  A 20-minute fly-over Manhattan this past weekend provided the memory for a 20-foot panorama of the city that he’s drawing throughout this week at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute.  Viewers can watch his progress on a live web cam or visit the Institute while he works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Oct. 30, 2009.

A Beautiful Mind: Stephen Wiltshire Draws New York City from Memory

Slide Show: A Beautiful Mind/Stephen Wiltshire Draws New York City from Memory

(Please Click on Image to View Slide Show)

Viewers can watch his progress on a live web cam while he works from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday, Oct. 26 to Friday, Oct. 30, here.

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