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Museum Quality: The Fine Art of Aging

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More, please: The exhibit “Aging Pride” currently on display at Vienna’s Belvedere (we know, not exactly around the corner) gives us reason to cheer. Instead of gathering images of youth, the curators have assembled a rich show of almost 200 works that reflect images of older age.

Canvases by household-name artists—Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas—are mixed in with those by creative talent that is less familiar to American ears, but the mission of the show is one we all can get behind. It attempts to counter the belief that, “These days, the aging process is seen as a deficiency in the public eye. Terms such as ‘anti-aging’ give the impression that aging is something pathological.”

There are self-portraits of not-so-taut skin, like the one by Maria Lassnig, shown watching a butterfly, that make use see that a sense of wonder in the world around us isn’t limited to childhood. There is a seductive photograph of actor Helen Mirren in the bathtub, by Juergen Teller, that proves that sex appeal doesn’t end at age 40. Together, the works reflect the diversity and intensity of life in one’s later years, and brings those at midlife and beyond into the spotlight.

While a jaunt to Vienna before the show closes on March 4th may not be in the cards, take a look at photos and videos here to absorb some of its poignance and power.

Janet Siroto

Cover image by Alex Katz

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