Lincoln Schatz’s generative portraits of nineteen leading American innovators, known collectively as Esquire’s Portrait of the Twenty-First Century, were created in 2008 on commission from the magazine. The portraits are on view at the National Portrait Gallery through July 10, 2011, as part of the “Americans Now” exhibition.
Each of theses sitters—representing leadership in the realms of business, medicine, science, technology, and the arts, and including celebrities like George Clooney and LeBron James—sat for his or her portrait for one hour in the artist’s ten-by-ten-foot “Cube.” During this time they participated in activities of personal interest.
The Cube is embedded with twenty-four cameras, each of which recorded the sitter from a different angle. The ever-changing “generative portrait” that results consists for the footage from each camera played back for different durations and in different sequences, creating a representation that is analogous to a personal encounter with these individuals.
Schatz was Interviewed by Jesse Rhodes of Smithsonian Magazine; learn more about his work in Rhode’s article for the Smithsonian's Around the Mall blog.