First and Second Beauty Composites (Left: Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe. Right: Jane Fonda, Jacqueline Bisset, Diane Keaton, Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep.)
Androgyny (6 Men + 6 Women)
Mankind (The images used are from a 19th-century book of racial stereotypes and were weighted to reflect current world population statistics)
Warhead I (Reagan 55%, Brezhnev 45%, Thatcher less than 1%, Mitterand less than 1%, Deng less than 1%)
He With She and She With He
Five Self-portraits at Ages 18, 30, 45, 60, and 70
First & Second Male Movie Star Composites (Left: Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart. Right: Richard Gere, Christopher Reeve, Mel Gibson, Warren Beatty, Robert Redford.)
Businessman (10 Businessmen from Goldman Sachs)
Cog and Dat
Happy Dog
Happy Fish
The Dead
Aged Barbie
Aged Marilyn Monroe
Aged JFK
Baby Marilyn

Since the inception of her career as an artist, Nancy Burson has been interested in the interaction of art and science. Starting in the early 1980s, in collaboration with researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Burson began to produce computer-generated composite protraits. The work was informed by centuries of social, scientific, and pseudo-scientific study of the human face (physiognomy, phrenology, etc.). However, Burson’s attitude toward science was always laced with a touch of irony, and her early composites exhibit a keen awareness of the absurdities embedded in many of the historic theories with which we are now familiar. From the start, Burson’s work was conceptually challenging, as she addressed issues not only concerning science, but also race, biology, politics, ethics, and much more.

Work by Nancy Burson

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