Archives of American Art

“Titian made art into his late 80s and I’m now past that. I always wanted to paint like an old master, or rather an old mistress,” says the photorealist painter and sculptor Audrey Flack. “A radical contemporary old mistress.”

Stand Aside, Old Masters: This Feminist Artist Is Cultivating Her Old Mistress Legacy

Now 90 years old, the renowned photorealist Audrey Flack shows no sign of slowing down

Nancy Holt on a New York City rooftop in October 1977

Archives of Groundbreaking Land Artist Nancy Holt Head to the Smithsonian

The papers illuminate the life of a woman whose career was often overshadowed by that of her husband, Robert Smithson

Ruth Asawa, Untitled (S.557, Wall-Mounted Tied Wire, Closed Center Twelve-Petaled Form Based on Nature), bronze wire, 38 x 38 x 12 in.

Smithsonian Voices

Documenting the Turning Point in the Fascinating Career of Sculptor Ruth Asawa

Smithsonian's Liza Kirwin explores an early and important exhibition held at LA's Ankrum Gallery in 1962

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Smithsonian Voices

Hear the Voices of America's Artistic Community Recounting Despair, Resilience, Loss and Creation

During the summer of 2020, the Archives of American Art conducted 85 interviews with artists, teachers, curators and administrators

Jessica Esch, Totally, November 2020, 6 1/4" x 12 1/2"

Smithsonian Voices

Illustrator Jessica Esch Fell Down a 'Rabbit Hole' and Hasn't Emerged Yet

During the pandemic, the Archives of American Art provided refuge and a place for artistic inspiration

Fiber artist Barbara Lee Smith in her studio.

Smithsonian Voices

A Friendship Forged in the Archives

Maine writer and illustrator Jessica Esch happened upon the Archives of American Art by chance; but destiny followed

A participant from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's "Eva Zeisel: Designing in the Air" workshop explores connections between a Zeisel ceramic prototype and her carpet sample design.

Smithsonian Voices

Understanding the Power of Primary Sources

Artifacts and archives are silent until they come out from the attic, the shoebox, or a museum’s archive to find life again through shared discovery

Alexander Calder checks some of his mobiles during a 1962 exhibition of his work at Tate London.

Education During Coronavirus

Explore the Newly Digitized Archive of Alexander Calder, Famed 'Sculptor of Air'

A new online trove from the Calder Foundation offers fans endless avenues to learn about the artist's life and work

Like the original show staged at what's now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, "Objects: USA 2020," hosted by R & Company, an art gallery in New York City, aims to bring American craft to a new generation.

Artisan America

The Groundbreaking 1969 Craft Exhibit 'Objects: USA' Gets a Reboot

More than 50 years later, the new show combines the works of 100 established and emerging artists

Still from the 1974 film Julie by Robert and Ingrid Wiegand

Women Who Shaped History

Women Artists Reflect on How They Helped Shape SoHo

A Smithsonian online event kicks off a new monthly series exploring the pioneering art films and videos made by women

Lorna Truck and Tim Benson. Photograph documenting burning of Robert Pincus-Witten's book Postminimalism (1977) at the request of artist Buster Cleveland as part of the 1979 Des Moines Festival of the Avant-Garde, circa 1979.

Smithsonian Voices

Meet the Pioneering Virtual Artist Fred Truck

By using electronic tools to facilitate communications between artists and computer-based artworks, Truck established himself as a pivotal figure

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

Getting a Taste of 100 Years of Wayne Thiebaud

The American artist turns 100 this month, and a new exhibit in California examines the full, delicious spread of his work

Martin Johnson Heade, Black-eared Fairy, ca. 1863-1864, oil on canvas, 12 1/4 x 10 in.

Smithsonian Voices

Scholars Are Finding New Clues to Understanding a Gorgeous Hummingbird Series of Artworks

The 19th-century artist Martin Johnson Heade abandoned his effort to paint his 'Gems of Brazil,' but why?

Poultney Bigelow. Sketch by Poultney Bigelow for Edith Weir (detail), 1884 April 18. Weir family papers.

Smithsonian Voices

Important Hudson River School Archive Is Now Fully Digitized

Prominent artists like Edwin Austin Abbey, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Eastman Johnson are featured in the Weir Family Papers

Photograph of Chiura Obata teaching a children's art class at Tanforan Art School, 1942 / unidentified photographer.

Smithsonian Voices

The Papers of Artist Chiura Obata Chronicle Life Inside World War II Incarceration Camps

At the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the artist's story is one of resilience amidst the upheaval

Emilio Sanchez with children in Puerto Rico, 1964. Emilio Sanchez papers, 1922-2012.

Smithsonian Voices

How the Desolate Architectural Paintings of Emilio Sanchez Were Crafted From the Artist's Travel Snapshots

In the Archives of American Art, a scholar pieces together the Cuban-born painter's complex artistic practice

Walter Pach, Street in Mexico,

Smithsonian Voices

How a Once-Hidden Cache of Art and Archives Expands the Narratives of Mexican Modernism

The works and writings of American artist and art critic Walter Pach are newly available to scholars and the resource is rich with history

Recommendations include Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America and The Making of Black Revolutionaries: A Personal Account.

Race in America

Smithsonian Scholars and Researchers Share Works That Shed Light on the History of U.S. Racism

In this dynamic time, a list of film, podcasts and books is offered for a nation grappling with its fraught history

The original call for submissions that was mailed out for the 1977 iteration of "What is Feminist Art?"

More Than 40 Years Later, Artists Answer a Still-Relevant Question: What Is Feminist Art?

An exhibition from the Archives of American Art asks artists—and the viewer—to ponder what makes art feminist, and how that definition has evolved

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

Meet Instrument Designer John Vassos, Who Gave the Hohner Harmonica a Sleek New Look

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