A new exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery confronts one of the most dynamic and hard-to-define concepts in American cultural life — the cool. “American Cool” broaches its subject through photographs of people who have helped define and embody the idea since before it had taken form to the current day.
Actor Marlon Brando, 1950. The National Portrait Gallery exhibition’s curators instituted a four-part test for each of the 100 people included. Copyright Philippe Halsman Archive /Courtesy Smithsonian Institution Buy Photo