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Dan Budnik, Portrait of Jasper Johns at Leo Castelli's Gallery, 1958. Silver dye bleach print. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by PhotoFutures.
June 2 – September 16

Countless exhibitions and endless pages in art history books have been devoted to the genre of portraiture, because faces transcend time, culture, and geography and speak directly to human desires, fears, and hopes. Since the discovery of photography in 1839, the photographic portrait as fine art has evolved dramatically.

What does a portrait reveal? Does the subject portray the person's real self or betray things about the self? In his last major work, Camera Lucida, French theorist Roland Barthes confessed, "Once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of posing, I instantaneously make another body for myself, I transform myself in advance into an image." Photographers and sitters cooperate, collude, and sometimes collide in the creation of a portrait. Yet, despite both the message the photographer aims to portray and the image the sitter chooses to betray, the true control resides with the viewer, who ultimately interprets the photograph.

This exhibition explores the endlessly interesting terrain of the portrait in over 100 photographs, drawn mainly from the permanent collection, that reveal an infinite range of human complexities and contradictory states of heart and mind. Organized into nine distinct groups, each section reflects a different conceptual approach and explores the shifting negotiation of control from the person behind the camera to the one in front of the camera and, finally, to the viewer.

This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree.

To view the full Press Release, click here.

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Related Programming

Twitter Portraits
July 2 – 13
In conjunction with the Portrayal/Betrayal exhibition, create your own self-portrait using Twitter! From July 2 to 13, submit a six-word, self-portrait message via twitter with the hashtag #SBMA6, and our Teaching Artists will create a sketched "portrait" based on your text. Written and sketched portraits are featured below.

Stumped on what to write? Take cues from authors and entertainers?singer Aimee Mann "Couldn't cope so I wrote songs," comedian Stephen Colbert "Well, I thought it was funny," and most famously, Ernest Hemingway "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn."


1st Thursday
Thursdays, June 7; August 2, 5 – 8 pm


Family 1st Thursdays, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Bring the whole family and enjoy 1st Thursday together in SBMA's Family Resource Center located across from the Museum Café on the Lower Level. Museum Teaching Artists will assist families in creating special exhibition-based art projects. Afterwards, enjoy selected galleries until 8pm.

June 7
Block Panel Animal Portraits: Portrayal/Betrayal
Select one of the close-up animal portraits featured in Portrayal/Betrayal and layer with block panels from your own colored pencil compositions.

August 2
From 2D to 3D Portraits: Portrayal/Betrayal
Turn shapes into forms by sculpting a portrait from a photograph inspired by Steve Davis' Robert, Oakridge from the Captured Youth series.



Studio Sundays on the Front Steps
Sundays, June 3 and 10; August 12, 1:30 – 4:30 pm
Visitors of all ages are welcome to participate in this hands-on workshop with SBMA Teaching Artists on the Museum’s front steps. Each month explore a different medium, including clay, metal, ink, wood, photography, and paper, and gain inspiration from works of art in the Museum’s permanent collection or special exhibitions.

In the event of inclement weather, activities will be moved inside to the Museum’s Family Resource Center. 

Front Steps of the Museum

Portrayal/Betrayal Portrait Studio
Sundays, June 3 and 10
Pose for a portrait and create your own frame to celebrate the art of portrait photography, inspired by the exhibition Portrayal/Betrayal. Return the following weekend and pose with your pet!

Acrylic Tile
Morrie Camhi's Young Man with Union Brochure
Sunday, August 12
Explore early animation techniques by painting portraits featured in the exhibition Portrayal/Betrayal on acrylic tiles.


Joyce Tenneson, Suzanne in Contortion, 1990. Chromogenic print. SBMA, Gift of Arthur B. Steinman.

Facing Facts: Panel Discussion
Sunday, August 5, 2:30 pm
Be a part of the conversation as an eclectic mix of artists, critics, theorists, and writers come together to share the when, where, and why of their favorite portrait across time and place, and most favorite or least favorite image in Portrayal/Betrayal. Panelists include artist, Tony de los Reyes; UCSB Professor of Critical Theory and Integrative Studies, Colin Gardner; Writer and USC School of Cinematic Art Adjunct Faculty, Nevin Schreiner; and UCSB Professor of Asian American Studies, Sameer Pandya.

Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members


Keith Carter, Stars, 1995
Keith Carter, Stars, 1995. Toned gelatin silver print. SBMA, Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Friends of Photographic Art.

Keith Carter: Artist Lecture
Sunday, September 9, 2:30 pm
Called "a poet of the ordinary" by the Los Angeles Times and featured in the Portrayal/Betrayal exhibition, Keith Carter speaks about his career as a photographer–from taking over his mother’s portrait business in the early '80s, to the personal, and world renowned projects of small Texas towns, landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes.

Mary Craig Auditorium
Free for SBMA Members/$10 Non-Members/$6 Senior Non-Members


Family Resource Center Family Resource Center

Family Resource Center: Portraits
July 3 – September 16
Open 11am – 5pm

The Family Resource Center is re-installed as a family-friendly portal to explore the concept of portraiture–especially photographic portraiture–inspired by the current exhibition Portrayal/Betrayal. Fun facts and hands-on activities introduce visitors to the photographer's studio where they can pose in the style of the 19th century, learn about photographic techniques, or explore the world of portraits in a relaxing reading area.

Enjoy the following with the entire family:

  • Guide questions and interactive materials to explore the history of portraiture during your Museum visit
  • Projection of portraits on the walls to compare, contrast, and explore changes across time, medium, and culture
  • Hands-on magnetic wall to group and comment on reproductions of images from the exhibition
  • Blind Contour Drawing station to explore self-portraiture or to draw a friend
  • A series of nine "Pick a Portrait Path" family guides to explore the exhibition in the galleries, each with different points of view and questions for discussion

Support for the Family Resource Center is generously provided by U.S. Bank.


Guide By Cell
The Museum has invited the people of Santa Barbara to voice their opinions–literally. Members of the community were asked to record a personal response to an image in the exhibition, discussing everything from what they thought the photographer wanted them to feel about the photo to how the image related to their personal story. In addition, photographers and subjects in the exhibition were also given the opportunity to share their perspective and insight as to how the portraits were constructed. All responses are available for Museum visitors to access via their cell phones as a Guide By Cell audio tour–free while visiting the exhibition.


Twitter Portraits, July 2 – 13

Instructions for downloading images:
  1. Click the Flickr logo in the upper left, a new window will open
  2. In the new window click the image you want to download
  3. Right click on the image and click the size you want to download
  4. When the image reloads right click on it and click "save image as" or "save picture as" depending on your browser


Portrayal/Betrayal Pooch Portrait Studio - June 10, 2012

Instructions for downloading images:
  1. Click the image you want to download, a new window will open
  2. In the new window click "actions -> view all sizes"
  3. Click the size you want to download
  4. Right click on image and click "save image as" or "save picture as" depending on your browser


Portrayal/Betrayal Community Portrait Studio - June 3, 2012

Instructions for downloading images:
  1. Click the image you want to download, a new window will open
  2. In the new window click "actions -> view all sizes"
  3. Click the size you want to download
  4. Right click on image and click "save image as" or "save picture as" depending on your browser


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