Before the Selfie

This photo is a rare look at the artist Morimura Yasumasa—in his own skin, without wearing the personna of a famous other. 

For more than two decades, Yasumasa, one of Japan’s most renowned artists, has inserted his own face into paintings by van Gogh, Velasquez, Kahlo, and Vermeer, as well as glamorous headshots of stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. His frequently gender-bending self-portraits investigate the ambiguity between male and female identities while also illuminating Japan’s love-hate relationship with Western culture, the rise of global art movements, and the free exchange of cultural ideas. —Diane Richard, writer, May 17, 2016


Image: The Japan Times, 2006

“Before the Selfie” highlights the popularity of the self-portrait in Mia’s collection before 2000. To see self-portraits by contemporary artists, visit “Beyond the Selfie” in Gallery 368, May 14–October 30.