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Treasures of the Met, Vol. I: I went with Sumana's co-worker Will to the Met yesterday. There's a rotating exhibit of artists' self-portraits at the Met, and a lot of them are self-indulgent, but two are really excellent. First, William Anastasi's hilarious 1967 fractal "Nine Polaroid Portaits of a Mirror". Second, the one I want to talk more about, D.J. Hall's hyperreal pencil drawing "Piece of Cake". The text on that Flickr page is taken directly from the Met's description of the work:

Hall, the Los Angeles-based artist seated at right, based this lifelike drawing and a related painting on a photograph she took in spring 1986, just before she suffered an emotional and physical breakdown.

The drawing's vivid colors, bright sun, and festive atmosphere belie the artist's troubles. Despite the sitters' cheerful camaraderie, Halls' companion at left was not a family member or friend but a local woman she hired to pose with her for her composition.

I was floored by "Piece of Cake" because the saturated colors and the fashions (but not the place settings) perfectly capture the Los Angeles I grew up in. I felt like I was looking at a photo of my mother's richer friends. And this wasn't a one-time theme: D.J. Hall is still painting Southern California women looking into imaginary cameras.

Here's some commentary; I don't really have anything to add, except that a timeline of Hall's paintings would make a really good history of women's sunglasses.

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