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Photos: Opening Of Timken’s Robert Wilson Exhibit

A crowd gathers around Wilson's portrait of actor Robert Downey Jr. Accompany...

Photo by Angela Carone

Above: A crowd gathers around Wilson's portrait of actor Robert Downey Jr. Accompanying the portrait is a soundtrack by Tom Waits.

The Timken Museum of Art may be an unlikely venue for a video portrait of Robert Downey Jr.

But if Downey is lying on a slab of concrete a la Rembrandt's 1632 oil painting "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp", then it actually fits quite nicely.

Last Thursday, a crowd gathered at the Timken Museum in Balboa Park for the opening reception of Robert Wilson: Video Portraits. The four portraits on view feature celebrities and performing artists in vignettes referencing art works by the old masters. Each of the videos looks like a still image; you have to pay close attention to detect any movement.

Wilson is a prolific artist who has worked in theater, set design, dance, opera and the visual arts. He designed and directed Philip Glass' opera "Einstein on the Beach" and is considered a seminal figure in avant garde theater.

Tuesday (3/1) on These Days, we'll talk with Timken's director John Wilson and Matthew Shattuck, a producer who's worked with Wilson on his portraits. Until then, here's a taste of what people were looking at during the Robert Wilson opening.

Photo caption:

Photo by Angela Carone

A visitor to the Timken Museum of Art takes in artist Robert Wilson's video portrait of Mikhail Baryshnikov as Saint Sebastian, shot with arrows.

Photo caption:

Photo by Angela Carone

The crowd milled about in the atrium of the Timken. The videos are on view in one of the smaller galleries.

Photo caption:

Photo by Angela Carone

New York based producer Matthew Shattuck travels the world installing Wilson's video portraits in museums and galleries. He will be a guest on These Days on Tuesday, March 1st.

Photo caption:

Photo by Angela Carone

The video portrait of Winona Ryder is projected onto an outside wall of the Timken Museum. Ryder is depicted up to her shoulders in dirt, like the character Winnie from Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days.”

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