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1 Year in Review

BY Kristen Schott | August 3, 2018 | Feature Features

The National Portrait Gallery is showcasing the pivotal year of 1968 in its latest exhibit.
Julian Wasser, “Joan Didion” (gelatin 
silver print)

There’s something about literary maven Joan Didion. She has that effortless cool, a certain aura that captivates, both on her pages—such as in her pivotal essay collection, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, published in 1968—and here, in this image of her with her Corvette Stingray. The print is one of 30 showcased in the National Portrait Gallery’s One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey, on display through May 19, 2019. The one-room exhibit is a visual tome, in a sense, of the key moments and figures in that important time, the same year that the museum opened. The subjects are as varied as Jimi Hendrix and Robert F. Kennedy. Then there’s Didion. “The photograph says much about her, and the car connects her to the energetic, contemporary culture of the era,” says James Barber, a historian with the gallery. Barber notes that life in the fast lane has largely remained the same since the era. “Corvettes can still be [purchased], now with more horsepower and money,” he quips. Some trends are timeless, don’t you think? Admission free, memberships $1,000-$10,000, Eighth and F streets NW

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