Eleven Photos That Define American Cool

What do we mean when we say someone is cool? A new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will explore this very theme, through photography, history and popular culture. The exhibit’s working definition: ‘Cool is the opposite of innocence or virtue. Someone cool has a charismatic edge and a dark side.’ Never more exemplified than by Marion, Indiana’s own James Dean, photographed by the under-appreciated Roy Schatt.

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