The Cool 100 of American icons is now on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (8th and F Streets). The exhibit, which opened on Feb. 7 and runs through Sept. 7, is curated by Prof. Joel Dinerstein (Tulane) and Frank Goodyear III (co-director, Bowdoin College Music & Art).
Here are the "cool credentials": originality of artistic vision and especially of a signature style; cultural rebellion, or transgression in a given historical moment; iconicity, or a certain level of high-profile recognition; and recognized cultural legacy (lasting more than a decade).
The exhibit is broken down into four categories:
• The Roots of Cool - includes James Cagney, Ernest Hemingway, Georgia O'Keefe, Bessie Smith and Mae West.
• The Birth of Cool - includes Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, Lenny Bruce, William S. Burroughs, Miles Davis, James Dean, Duke Ellington. Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Guthrie, Billie Holiday, Jack Kerouac, Gene Krupa, Robert Mitchum, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters, Hank Williams and Lester Young.