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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Face It!

Staley-Wise Gallery / New York / Art

Lockdowns may be easing, but masks aren’t going anywhere. This exhibition celebrates faces in all their maskless glory. Look for Joan Crawford, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, a face thought to be Modigliani’s (as captured in Man Ray’s 1928 Death Mask), and the top half of Roy Lichtenstein’s head (the rest is covered in a paintbrush oozing red paint, as shot by Abe Frajndlich in 1985). The photographers range from Ellen von Unwerth and Arthur Elgort to Kurt Markus, Firooz Zahedi, and Patrick Demarchelier, whose contribution to the show is not one of his renowned fashion images but a lion, close up. The faces of Philippe Halsman include a Marilyn-Mao hybrid, from 1952, and a crazed-looking Salvador Dalí, whose mustache Halsman spent 30 years photographing. In his 1972 book, Philippe Halsman: Sight and Insight, Halsman describes the photo that’s part of this show: “In 1954, the growth of Dalí’s mustache miraculously increased. When the painter returned to New York I was amazed: the points of his mustache were higher than his eyebrows…. Dalí commented ‘Many American tourists visited me this summer in Spain, Did they want to see my paintings? Not at all: they were only interested in my mustache. The public does not need great paintings. What it needs is a better mustache.’” Ten years later, in 1964, “newspapers and radio and TV commentators announced that Dalí had shaved his mustache off. I felt as if I had lost an old friend and visited Dalí in Spain. When I saw him I did not believe my eyes: he sported his old mustache. ‘As you can see,’ he said, ‘one cannot trust the news media.’” —J.V.

Staley-Wise Gallery 100 Crosby St #305, New York, NY 10012
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