Smithsonian American Art Museum

“Dale Chihuly is one of the most important artists of the 21st century,” says Stephanie Stebich, the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, who is among the experts interviewed in a new documentary, "Master of Glass: The Art of Dale Chihuly."

The Unrivaled Legacy of Dale Chihuly

The pioneering glassmaker and octogenarian is the subject of a new Smithsonian Channel documentary

This month, Portraits, a podcast from the National Portrait Gallery, revisits "Finding Cleopatra," a Sidedoor episode with host Lizzie Peabody exploring the life of the artist Edmonia Lewis (above: a photographic portrait by Henry Rocher, c. 1890).

Cleopatra’s Iconoclastic Sculptor Was Her Own Kind of Queen

Smithsonian podcasts delve into the life of Edmonia Lewis, how astronauts sleep, the evolution of the human brain; and drop in on painter Kay WalkingStick

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

Edmonia Lewis circa 1870, photographed by Henry Rocher

After More Than 150 Years, Sculptor Edmonia Lewis Finally Gets Her Degree

A historian is fighting to honor the legacy of the 19th-century artist

In her new historic novel, Brooks reimagines the life of the itinerant artist Thomas J. Scott, who rendered the distinguished race horse in the oil painting, Portrait of Lexington, ca. 1857, a work that Smithsonian curator Eleanor Harvey describes as "visually riveting."

The Lost Story of Lexington, the Record-Breaking Thoroughbred, Races Back to Life

For her latest novel “Horse,” the Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks found inspiration in the Smithsonian collections

"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

Edmonia Lewis' Death of Cleopatra was a sensation at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, among both admirers and those who found Lewis' depiction of the queen's suicide too macabre.

Women Who Shaped History

When Cleopatra Died Again

The artwork by Edmonia Lewis, the first African American sculptor in the classical mode, epitomizes her immense talent

One reader wonders if European modernists thought of the American painter Georgia O’Keeffe as a remarkable artist.
 

Ask Smithsonian

Was Georgia O'Keeffe's Genius Appreciated Outside of America? And More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts.

With every hope that Covid-restrictions will soon give way to happier times ahead, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City plan a bright year of grand new showings

Twenty-Two Smithsonian Shows to See in 2022

Falcon hunting, Watergate, a Kusama mirror room and the new Latino Gallery await

Wayne Thiebaud, Pies, Pies, Pies, 1961. Oil on canvas.

Getting a Taste of Wayne Thiebaud

An exhibit in California examines the full, delicious spread of the American artist's work

Dozens of Smithsonian Institution professionals share their favorite reads from this year.

The Best Books of 2021

Smithsonian Scholars Pick Their Favorite Books of 2021

The writings of many fine authors support the research and ambitious undertakings of an Institution rising to the challenges ahead

In "New Glass Now," at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, works by 50 artists, including the hot-sculpted glass work of James Akers, (above: TThe Wild One (B), 2018) amplify the stunning advancement of the artform since the last major survey.

 

Two New Shows Reflect the Shining Versatility of Glass

Thrilling innovations at the Renwick mirror SAAM’s exquisite historical survey of the Venetian masters and their influences

Conservators discovered this painting, Untitled (Virginia Summer), beneath another work by Gorky, The Limit (1947). The artist's relatives had previously noticed sections of The Limit peeling up at the corners, revealing bright blue paint below.

Cool Finds

This Arshile Gorky Painting Spent 70 Years Hidden in Plain Sight

Experts discovered a sea-blue canvas by the Armenian American artist concealed beneath another one of his works on paper

This damaged floor marker, labeled “Stairwell C, Floor 102,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center and is now housed in the National Museum of American History's National September 11 Collection.

September 11

Commemorate 9/11 With Free Virtual Programs, Resources From the Smithsonian

Here's how the American History Museum, the National Postal Museum and more are reflecting on the tragedy

Kevin Bubriski, World Trade Center Series, New York City, 2001, gelatin silver print

Smithsonian Voices

The Art of Remembering 9/11

Learn about five artworks in SAAM's collection and the stories they tell us about 9/11

Mickalene Thomas,  Jet Blue #25 (detail), 2021

Mickalene Thomas' Dazzling Collages Reclaim Black Women's Bodies

A four-part exhibition premiering this fall showcases the contemporary artist's multimedia portrayals of Black femininity

Chuck Close Self-Portrait, dye diffusion transfer prints, 1989

Chuck Close, Artist Whose Photorealist Portraits Captivated America, Dies at 81

The painter, who faced accusations of sexual harassment later in life, continuously changed his artistic style

The Larry J. West Collection features an array of early photography, (above: Untitled (pin, woman in hat) by unidentified artist, ca. 1865), presenting a stunning new visual record.

New Collection of Portraits Presents the Diversity of 19th-Century American Photography

Smithsonian American Art Museum announces major acquisition of the works of Black photographers James P. Ball, Glenalvin Goodridge and Augustus Washington

Jenova Chen, Kellee Santiago, Flower, 2007, video game for SONY PS3, color, sound

Smithsonian Voices

This Week, the Popular SAAM Arcade Is Game On for Video Game Makers

Chris Totten reflects on how the gaming community around SAAM Arcade has grown since the first event debuted seven years ago

Angel Rodríguez-Díaz, The Protagonist of an Endless Story, 1993, oil on canvas, 72 x 57 7/8 in. (182.9 x 147.0 cm.)

Smithsonian Voices

How Artists Challenge Mythic Conceptions of the American West

Forty-eight modern and contemporary artists who are reclaiming the narratives of their region

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