Miss America Beauty Pageant

  • Malcah Zeldis, Miss America Beauty Pageant, 1973, oil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr., 1998.84.66

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Malcah Zeldis spent several years living on a kibbutz in Israel and gave herself the Hebrew name Malcah, which means "queen," when she was nineteen. After she returned to the United States, she began to paint satires of American rituals, including national holidays, funerals, and splashy weddings. Zeldis points up the contrast between the golden blondes who dominate this painting and the dark-haired, dark-skinned people around them. The meaning is unclear, but the image suggests that the artist was coming to terms with a culture very different from what she had known in Israel.

Title
Miss America Beauty Pageant
Artists
Date
1973
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
48 x 40 in. (121.9 x 101.6 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure group
  • Ceremony – other – beauty contest
Object Number
1998.84.66
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI