The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery has acquired a portrait of Beyoncé by photographer Tyler Mitchell, which the young artist shot for Vogue’s 2018 September issue cover spread. Mitchell was the first black photographer to shoot a cover for the storied fashion publication.
The Smithsonian’s selection is a glimmering, golden photo of the pop singer, capturing her in an ornate headdress and metallic Valentino dress, leaning against a Grecian column. Leslie Ureña, the museum’s associate curator of photographs, said in a statement, “This particular work brought us closer to Beyoncé’s words, appearing within the magazine’s pages, and showing us more of the historic shoot.”
This is the second image of Beyoncé the museum has acquired, and the first by Mitchell. The museum has not announced when the photograph will go on public view, and confirmed that it will not immediately be on permanent display.
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A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Since then it was important to spend the whole year running through them making sure every piece of the gate was knocked down. And now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection
Beyoncé and her sister, fellow singer and artist Solange, have been making headway into art institutions in the past year. Earlier this summer, Solange teamed up with Brooklyn Museum LACMA, MCA Chicago, MFA Houston, the V&A in London, and other museums to to debut an extended version of her film When I Get Home. Last year, Beyoncé and Jay-Z released the video for their song “Apeshit”, which was filmed in the Louvre and was chock-full of art history.