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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Tough & Tender

Previous exhibition from Friday 15 July 2016 until Sunday 16 October 2016

Tough & Tender reveals emotional vulnerability and yearning for connection. Art by a group of American and Australian artists from the 1960s to now explore the complexities of personal relations and individual expression – their work is intimate and raw.

Spencer 2016, by Warwick Baker
Spencer 2016, by Warwick Baker
Photographs by Warwick Baker, Larry Clark, Rozalind Drummond, Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe and Collier Schorr reflect the formative identity of young adulthood and complexities of masculinity and gender, composed with sensitivity and candour. In ground-breaking performance art documented on video, Chris Burden’s physical trials strip back his own persona and the mythic ethos of manhood. 
 
Specific works have been selected from broader oeuvres to create an atmosphere of revelation of subtle emotion and bodily sensation in portrait-related work. 

18 portraits

1Untitled (42nd Street Series), 1979
by Larry Clark. 2Beno 2016 by Warwick Baker. 3Nan and Brian in bed, New York City 1983 by Nan Goldin. 4Koko & Kiko (42nd Street Series), 1980 by Larry Clark. 5Video still from Documentation of Selected Works, 1971-74 by Chris Burden. 6Vy (Cowsill) 2016 by Rozalind Drummond. 7Untitled (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark. 8Hugh 2015, by Warwick Baker. 9Benny (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark. 10Sebastian, 1980 by Robert Mapplethorpe.

Related people

Dr Christopher Chapman (curator)

Related information

Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso
Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso
Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso
Miles and Arkie, 2015 by Clint Peloso

Shop Talk

Magazine article by Stephen Phillips, 2016

Angus and the arbiters talk (photo) shop for the National Photographic Portrait Prize.

James Ford, 1979 by Robert Mapplethorpe
James Ford, 1979 by Robert Mapplethorpe
James Ford, 1979 by Robert Mapplethorpe
James Ford, 1979 by Robert Mapplethorpe

Apollo's breath

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman delights in the intimacy of Robert Mapplethorpe's photography

Benny (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark
Benny (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark
Benny (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark
Benny (42nd Street Series), 1979–80 by Larry Clark

City boys

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman immerses himself in Larry Clark’s field of vision.

Bed piece, 1972 by Chris Burden
Bed piece, 1972 by Chris Burden
Bed piece, 1972 by Chris Burden
Bed piece, 1972 by Chris Burden

The boy, the bed and the gun

Magazine article by Dr Christopher Chapman, 2016

Christopher Chapman contemplates the provocative performance art of Chris Burden. 

We would like to thank our partners.
© National Portrait Gallery 2020
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia


Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.