Some famous celebrities, like Brad Pitt, Katy Perry and Britney Spears, will soon be hanging out together in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.—or at least their portraits will! They will be part of the new gallery exhibit “Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze,” and for a little while they will join other famous and influential people who helped shape American culture.
The National Portrait Gallery was created as a way to celebrate people who have made an important contribution to American culture, and some of the permanent portraits and images include B.T Barnum (of the Barnum and Bailey circus), the Apollo 11 astronaut crew, the U.S. Presidents and the musician Yo Yo Ma.
Not all of the Eye Pop portraits are the gallery are made using paint or ink. To help capture the personality and impact of the different celebrities, the artists used all kinds of media (materials), including video and audio! For the Britney Spears exhibit, the artist R. Luke DuBois used videos of Britney to create a moving collection of images of the pop star. He then played church music over the images—instead of Britney’s own songs—to get people to think about how much we value fame.
Pop stars aren’t the only celebrities at the new exhibit. The Gallery will also include images of famous writers, like Anne Tyler, and scientists like Maxine Singer, who helped decode the genetic code and encourages everyone to explore science. Says exhibit curator Brandon Fortune: “We focus in our collecting efforts on people who have made a significant contribution to our history and culture.”
Most of the portraits also try to show the celebrities in unusual ways. According to Fortune, the goal of the exhibit is to get people thinking about the famous faces we see every day, but don’t really know anything about. Fortune says, “This exhibit isn’t just like picking up People magazine. It’s more about challenging yourself to learn more about the contemporary world.”