Exhibitions

Septima Poinsette Clark by Brian Lanker, 1987

Women Who Shaped History

These Black Women Changed America

Thirty years ago, photographer Brian Lanker made indelible images of historical lives; a new exhibition says their stories have never seemed more relevant

Musicians Cindy Campbell and DJ Kool Herc take center stage in a 2013 celebration of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop. The brother and sister duo threw a "Back-to School Jam" in August, 1973 and launched a lasting music genre.

How the Block Party Became an Urban Phenomenon

Watch the National Museum of African American History and Culture's 2022 star-studded Hip-Hop Block Party

At the world's largest arms fair held every two years in London, a group of artists in 2016 organized the "Art the Arms Fair," to voice opposition to the war industry and the international arms trade (above: Pattern Tank by Tristan Oliver, 2019).

Designers Build a Provocative Road Map for World Peace

Cooper Hewitt’s new show taps into the collective consciousness of activists, app developers, artists and architects to envision a way forward

Albert “Kid” Mertz (above: Untitled, c. 1980) painted hundreds, possibly thousands of railroad spikes he had collected from tracks near his property, giving each spike a cheerful face.

The Allure of Self-Taught Art

SAAM’s new show “We Are Made of Stories” examines the 20th-century rise and creative vision of artists who make art without formal training

In Blaine, Washington, after the 2020 appearance of the two-inch long invasive species Vespa mandarinia (above: Washington State entomologist Chris Looney holds a native bald-faced hornet to compare it with the huge size of the invader), scientists worked to eradicate it.

Giant 'Murder' Hornet Has Landed at the Natural History Museum

After scientists studied the invasive insect, visitors are getting a first look at the fierce creature that could wreak havoc on U.S. agriculture

Many of this year’s 42 finalists (above: Customer Service Representative by Marianna Olague, 2020) delve into the American psyche, depicting life during the Covid era.

These Are the New Faces of American Portraiture

In its 16th year, the Outwin Portrait Competition reflects the stunning vision of contemporary portrait-based art

The new Smithsonian show examines the foundational contributions of Latinos in shaping the history and culture of the United States. 

You Can Now Preview the Upcoming Latino Museum

New exhibition "¡Presente!" aims to show how Latinos shaped American history

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

The single-engine, single-seat Turner RT-14 Meteor is the "epitome of what a 1930s air racer in the United States would be: big engine, big propeller, small profile,” says the museum's Jeremy Kinney.

The Record-Shattering Airplane Behind a Dashing Pilot’s Meteoric Rise to Fame

Roscoe Turner's air racer takes center stage this fall when newly renovated galleries open at the National Air and Space Museum

“Music is a reflection of people's lives. It comes out of their experience,” says the folk musician Alice Gerrard, who will perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.

Why Women's Music Embraces the Voices of Past Generations

New show examining the deep connections women make with musical tradition kicks off with a concert featuring folk star Alice Gerrard

World Cup champion Samantha Mewis (above: in the May 26, 2019 International Friendly match against Mexico) and her colleagues sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay. In 2022, U.S. Soccer agreed to pay the women some $24 million in back pay.

Enacted 50 Years Ago, Title IX Is More Relevant Than Ever

New exhibit highlights female athletes who gained opportunities and the controversies that still surround the statute

The "Gifts We Carry: Sounds of Migration and Memory” concert will combine musicians from several backgrounds and cultures, including Salar Nader on the tabla and Homayoun Sakhi, a master on the Afghan stringed instrument the rubab. 

After Long Absence, the Folklife Festival Returns to the National Mall

The much-loved summer event, featuring the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism programs, opens with a concert hosted by Yo-Yo Ma

"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

In August 1994, Cuba's leader Fidel Castro announced a reprieve in the enforcement of laws governing emigration (above: a homemade raft sets off from the coast near Havana on August 22, 1994) and as a result nearly 35,000 left the island.  

A Makeshift Raft Speaks to the Risks Cubans Took to Escape Their Homeland

In the mid-1990s, tens of thousands left in boats or handcrafted floats facing treacherous waters in search of a better life

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

Materials and manufacturing details of the specially made suit of America's first space traveler were extensively analyzed before being prepared for display on a customized mannequin.

The Second Man in Space Had a Wee Wish—That He'd Used the Bathroom Before Blasting Off

Alan B. Shepard's historic Mercury spacesuit undergoes hours of conservation work for its debut when the National Air and Space Museum opens this fall

Alison Elizabeth Taylor's Anthony Cuts Under the Williamsburg Bridge, Morning (2020), received first prize in the 2022 Outwin competition.

Trending Today

Portrait of a Covid-Era Haircut Claims First Prize in the Outwin Boochever Competition

Judges for the triennial National Portrait Gallery contest chose Alison Elizabeth Taylor's "marquetry hybrid" out of a pool of 42 finalists

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

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

Ukrainian artist Kinder Album's "Ukrainians Will Resist" is one of a variety of new artworks by Ukrainian artists being exhibited at the upcoming Venice Biennale.

Good News

Venice Biennale Includes Last-Minute Exhibition of Ukrainian Art

Curators joined efforts to ensure artists could showcase their work, even during wartime

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