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The “Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000” exhibit explores the evolution of food in the U.S. (Library of Congress)

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Primal Screens
Ends August 11
Nam June Paik turned video into an art form and extolled the potential of what he called the “electronic superhighway.” In “Nam June Paik: Global Visionary,” the American Art Museum presents more than 60 of his works (Magnet TV, 1965), plus more than 140 items from the Nam June Paik estate archive, which the museum acquired after his death in 2006.

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Animal Attraction
Permanent
Now you can ride an ostrich at the National Zoo. To adorn its new carousel, the Zoo went old school, commissioning 56 wooden figures, ranging from a hummingbird to a cheetah to a naked mole rat to an ostrich, from the carving artists at the Carousel Works of Mansfield, Ohio. But to run the machinery, the Zoo went high-tech, installing 162 solar panels on the carousel’s rotating roof.

Narrative Art
Ends June 16
In Dad’s House, “visual storyteller” C. Maxx Stevens evokes her father and the stories he told as she grew up in a Seminole and Muscogee community in Plainview, Kansas. The assemblage of cotton cloth, horsehair and feathers is one of 19 sculptures, prints and installations in “C. Maxx Stevens: House of Memory,” a solo exhibition at the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City.

Long Time Coming
Ends September 15
When ground was broken last year for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, due to open in 2015, President Obama said his daughters would be able to look at artifacts such as Nat Turner’s Bible and “see how ordinary Americans could do extraordinary things.” Well, girls, here’s a preview: “Changing America” includes Turner’s Bible and 215 other objects and images (below: Mahalia Jackson, 1957) that demonstrate how Americans carried on the struggles that led to the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the March on Washington in 1963. At the African American History and Culture Gallery at the American History Museum.

Resetting the Table
Permanent
The United States has never had safer, more nutritious, more varied or more convenient food than it does today, the Agriculture Department says. How did that happen? “Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000,” at the American History Museum, traces a crucial half-century of change in how Americans farmed, shopped and cooked. “This food business,” says curator Rayna Green, “it’s not just about food.” May your tiki cup (right: 1960) runneth over.

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About Leah Binkovitz
Leah Binkovitz

Leah Binkovitz is a Stone & Holt Weeks Fellow at Washington Post and NPR. Previously, she was a contributing writer and editorial intern for the At the Smithsonian section of Smithsonian magazine.

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