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American Art in a Global Context
An International Symposium

September 28–30, 2006
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Washington, D.C.

Painting by William S. Rice

William S. Rice, Port of the Golden Gate, 1926

Conference Program
View the archived webcast on our site, ArtBabble or YouTube. Soon available for download from iTunes U.
Speakers' Bios and Abstracts (Adobe Acrobat PDF, 784KB)
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The field of American art has moved beyond the old paradigm of "what is American about American art?" It is looking anew at relationships, influences, and two-way exchanges with the rest of the world, both historic and contemporary. While lines of academic and modernist influence from Europe to the United States were traced in the field's early days, Americanist art historians are now interested in wider encounters with diverse peoples. They are exploring many levels of culture and varieties of media as well as rapidly changing modes of international communication.

This symposium looked at American art in a global context—from circum-Atlantic migrations in the eighteenth century to European training and travel in the late nineteenth century; from the export of U.S. culture and media in the twentieth century to the impact of immigration and globalization on the nation's visual arts in the new millennium.

The Terra Foundation for American Art supported this international dialogue in celebration of the museum's reopening July 1, 2006, after extensive renovations. The symposium highlighted the Foundation's five-year grant to the museum's distinguished fellowship program. The Terra Foundation is dedicated to fostering exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States for national and international audiences. This symposium received federal support from the Smithsonian Latino Center as well as support for related events from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and the Goethe-Institut of Washington, D.C.

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For symposium information, please email AmericanArtSymposium[at] or telephone Amelia Goerlitz at +1 (202) 633-8353. Faxes may be sent to +1 (202) 633-8372.

Pictured above: William S. Rice, Port of the Golden Gate, 1926, color relief on paper, image: 14 x 10 3/8 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1983.2.2

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