The Washington Post

Art in focus: ‘Six Degrees of Peggy Bacon’ makes invisible art-world connections visible at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery

View Photo Gallery: In a twist on the Hollywodd trivia game named for Kevin Bacon, “Six Degrees of Peggy Bacon,” a wry little show at the Smithsonian’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery uses the artist’s letters, photos, sketchbooks and other material to underscore the interconnectedness of the art world.

In the art world, like everywhere else, it’s all about who you know. Using photogrpahs, letters, artworks and other material, the Archives of American Art makes visible the often invisible connections that link people together, mounting a clever little exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery that reminds us that social networks are nothing new.

Called “Six Degrees of Peggy Bacon,” the show uses the obscure artist and illustrator as its version of actor Kevin Bacon, the tongue-in-cheek nexus of the Hollywood trivia game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Peggy’s connection to such figures as Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock forms the show’s spine, but the real subtext is: It’s a small, small world.

Read my review of the show, and check out a selection of images in the gallery at the top of this post.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Michael O’Sullivan has worked since 1993 at The Washington Post, where he covers art, film and other forms of popular — and unpopular — culture.


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