Art & Artists

Mujer con gallo (Woman With Rooster), 1941.

What Made Mariano Rodríguez' Art Uniquely Cuban

A mid-century modernist and native son elevated ordinary Cuban life

Gilliam, 88, died June 25 in his studio, just miles from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which recently opened a captivating new show, “Sam Gilliam: Full Circle.”

Abstractionist Sam Gilliam Dies at 88, Hirshhorn Hosts His Final Show

The beloved Washington, D.C. artist went full circle with a bold new series of round paintings

Desert Breath is a one-million-square-foot artwork smack dab in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

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Eight Works of Art in Unlikely Places

In a new art atlas, author Grace Banks takes readers on a journey to some of the most fascinating artworks found outside of museums and galleries

"This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World," featuring Alicia Eggert's stunning 2019-2020 neon sculpture, is on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The Craft World Is Undergoing a Democratization

In a new show at the Renwick Gallery, maker’s art is having a renaissance moment, with works that reveal powerful persistence and resilience

On May 20, the artist KAWS, also known as Brian Donnelly (above at Rockefeller Center in August 2021), received from the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden an award for "his contributions to art and popular culture."

Is a KAWS Celeb Sighting Cause for Speculation?

The ex-street artist turned art-world sensation receives a warm reception and an award from the Hirshhorn

Hassinger's video (above: Birthright by Maren Hassinger, 2005) is a powerful history of seven orphaned children, a story of stolen labor and stolen lives, a family chronicle “that came out of being enslaved, the aftermath of slavery,” says the artist.

Join in a Meditation on the Twists of Memories Handed Down From One Generation to Another

A new commission, based on the acclaimed video 'Birthright' by artist Maren Hassenger, explores the legacy of slavery in family history

This year, sixteen bakers delivered on the challenge.

Good News

This Museum Is Asking People to Remake Famous Artworks With Cake

Through its annual bake-off, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, provides a fun way for the public to engage with its collections

The massive sculpture by Sabin Howard consists of five tableaux about a U.S. soldier. This is “Battle Scene.”

World War I: 100 Years Later

An Exclusive Preview of the New World War I Memorial

One sculptor and his team of artists take on the epic project of conveying the century-old conflict through a massive bronze installation

Olive Trees With Yellow Sky and Sun, oil on canvas, 1889. Van Gogh painted several of his most famous works while at the asylum, including his Iris series and The Starry Night.

When van Gogh Spoke for the Trees

A new exhibition of lesser known works during a pivotal time sheds light on his budding genius

All are welcome at Papunya Tula's art centers.

Australia's Western Desert Art Movement Turns 50

Since 1972, hundreds of artists have painted under the guidance of Papunya Tula, one of the most respected players in the world of Indigenous art

The natural colors of a stoneware tea bowl from Japan and dating to 1510-1530 "speak of the spaces where Zen Buddhists practiced," says the Reverend Inryū Bobbi Poncé-Barger, a priest for the All Beings Zen Sangha in Washington, D.C.

How to Find Wholeness in the Cracks of a 16th-Century Tea Bowl

A new exhibition, “Mind Over Matter,” invites viewers to pause and connect with the teachings of Zen Buddhism

Richard Nixon (detail) by George Giusti, 1973

View the Granddaddy of Political Scandals in Oils, Cartoons and Sculpture

The 1972 Watergate break-in that led to Richard Nixon's resignation is the subject of a new exhibition

The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture acquired three works by Elizabeth Catlett, representing the artist's impassioned devotion to the dignity, struggle and uplift. 

A Trio of Elizabeth Catlett Sculptures Convey the Power of Service to Humanity

Regarded as “guardians of the Black narrative,” the artworks greet visitors to NMAAHC’s Heritage Hall

Dance of the Heyoka by Oscar Howe (Yanktonai Dakota), 1954

Who Gets to Define Native American Art?

A pivotal letter from Oscar Howe, whose work is the focus of a new exhibition, demanded the right to free expression and the art world began to listen

Emily Erdos, Harvard, Massachusetts, United States 

A map is supposed to symbolize travel, discovery, and possibility, almost all of which COVID-19 has suppressed. I don’t know what comes next, or which metaphorical life turn to take during this time of perpetual uncertainty. As a friend once wrote to me, a map has a quality of authority: Follow the directions, stick to the rules, don’t digress, and you will get to where you want to go. In this time, we all tried to follow the rules, to follow the map, and yet we still got (or are getting) lost in a new normal. 

But maps can encapsulate virtual as well as physical realities. They can symbolize home as much as “awayness.” For me, home is a place, but it’s also people. During the pandemic, those people have been spread across the globe, and my only connection to them is through a screen. So my map is a series of mini, virtual, people-centered maps. Knowing that the person behind each map has their own world and journey gives me comfort. Even more so knowing that those journeys, though currently only virtually connected, will physically intersect again someday.

This Pandemic Mapping Project Shows How Covid-19 Transformed Our Worlds

Hundreds of homemade maps reveal how people from around the globe found their ways through crisis

Detail of a carpet of flowers and colored sawdust in Antigua, Guatemala

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This Guatemalan City Rolls Out Colorful Sawdust Carpets for Holy Week

The longstanding tradition brings a dazzling display to the streets of Antigua each spring

The four-day Smithsonian Craft Show opens April 20 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., offering the works of 120 artists (above: an array of offerings).

Nine Artists on What It Means to Create

Forty years of bringing critical attention to the nation's best-known makers in the arts is celebrated at this year's Smithsonian Craft Show

Burger or baked good?

'Is It Cake?' Builds on a Lengthy Tradition of Visual Deception

The ‘fool the eye’ desserts hearken back to paintings from a period in American history when there was anxiety over fakes, fraudsters and misinformation

The Painter (Self-portrait at Work), oil on canvas, 1946. Gilot painted the self-portrait while she and Picasso were staying in Antibes, on the French Riviera.

Françoise Gilot Was More Than Picasso's Muse

The artist famously inspired the Cubist, but a new book shows that her own paintings deserve renown

Dried cochineal insects — shown here in the center of the photo — can be processed to create several natural dyes such as carmine and cochineal extract. These products get their red hue from carminic acid, a chemical found within the insect.

Scientists Are Making Cochineal, a Red Dye From Bugs, in the Lab

Used to color foods and cosmetics, carminic acid is traditionally 'farmed' from an insect. But researchers are moving to engineer it in microbes

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