The latest Smithsonian exhibitions showcase Civil War photography, Buddhist figures and Time magazine cover portraits

Brian Ireley, SI

On All Fronts

(Brian Ireley, SI)

Ends July 4, 2013
One hundred and fifty years ago, new cameras and the rise of photojournalism documented as never before the great conflict then raging. “Experience Civil War Photography: From the Home Front to the Battlefront,” at the Smithsonian Castle, features period photographic equipment and images ranging from daguerreotypes to ambrotypes to stereoscopic pictures, an early form of what we now call 3-D photography.

Have a Seat


Ends July 28, 2013
Thomas Day (1801-c. 1861), a free African- American in antebellum North Carolina, was one of the state’s finest cabinetmakers, renowned for his fluid lines and undulating forms. He was also an innovator, pioneering the use of steam-powered tools and other aids to mass production, and he is now considered one of the founding fathers of North Carolina’s furniture industry. See 36 examples of his handiwork at the Renwick Gallery’s “Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color.”

Seeing Doubles

(Hirshorn Museum, SI)

Ends May 19, 2013
In the spirit of Marcel Duchamp, who made art out of manufactured objects by framing, signing or simply declaring that they were (a snow shovel, a urinal), the Hirshhorn showcases 19 pieces by 13 more recent avant-gardists who imitate, duplicate or alter mundane things in their work.

Carved in Stone

(Freer Gallery of Art, SI)

Missionaries brought Buddhism to China by the first century A.D. Within 400 years or so, the emperor was supporting the faith, and even the poor were pooling their resources to commission sculptures of Buddhist figures for worship. The 28 works in “Promise of Paradise: Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture,,” at the Freer Gallery, show how the faith expanded in China from the sixth through eighth centuries.

Quick Draw


May 17, 2013-January 5, 2014
For nearly three decades, Boris Chaliapin was the go-to cover artist at Time magazine. His first cover portrait, in 1942, was of Jawaharlal Nehru; his last, in 1970, was of President Richard M. Nixon. In between came Marilyn Monroe and 410 others, some painted in as little as 12 hours. The 26 portraits in “Mr. Time: Portraits by Boris Chaliapin,” at the National Portrait Gallery, highlight the range of his talent and the magazine’s expansive range of subjects.

Get the latest on what's happening At the Smithsonian in your inbox.