The Double: Identity and Difference in Art since 1900

    Contributions by
  • Julia Bryan-Wilson
  • Tom Gunning
  • Hillel Schwartz
  • Shawn Michelle Smith
  • Andrew Solomon

A groundbreaking examination of the “double” in modern and contemporary art


May 24, 2022
8.13 x 10.5 in.
140 color + 60 b/w illus.
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From ancient mythology to contemporary cinema, the motif of the double—which repeats, duplicates, mirrors, inverts, splits, and reenacts—has captured our imaginations, both attracting and repelling us. The Double examines this essential concept through the lens of art, from modernism to contemporary practice—from the paired paintings of Henri Matisse and Arshile Gorky, to the double line works of Piet Mondrian and Marlow Moss, to Eva Hesse’s One More Than One, Lorna Simpson’s Two Necklines, Roni Horn’s Pair Objects, and Rashid Johnson’s The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Emmett). James Meyer’s survey text explores four modes of doubling: Seeing Double through repetition; Reversal, the inversion or mirroring of an image or form; Dilemma, the staging of an absurd or impossible choice; and the Divided and Doubled Self (split and shadowed selves, personae, fraternal doubles, and pairs). Thought-provoking essays by leading scholars Julia Bryan-Wilson, Tom Gunning, W.J.T. Mitchell, Hillel Schwartz, Shawn Michelle Smith, and Andrew Solomon discuss a host of topics, including the ontology and ethics of the double, the double and psychoanalysis, double consciousness, the doppelgänger in silent cinema, and the queer double.

Richly illustrated throughout, The Double is a multifaceted exploration of an enduring theme in art, from painting and sculpture to photography, film, video, and performance.

Published in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Exhibition Schedule
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
July 10–October 31, 2022