New Perspectives: Welcome to American Voices and Visions

Discover SAAM’s galleries for modern and contemporary art

SAAM
September 22, 2023
Photograph of Smithsonian American Art Museum gallery.

Installation photography of American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023; Photo by Albert Ting

Art is an invitation to experience the world from someone else’s point of view. The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s reimagined modern and contemporary galleries are now open. Featuring nearly 100 works, many on view for the first time, the new installation takes a fresh look at the explosion of possibility in American art between the 1940s and today. Redesigned in collaboration with Selldorf Architects, the renovated galleries transform the museum’s third floor into spaces for wonder and reflection.

A marble gallery with a colorful neon sculpture of the United States and abstract painting

Installation photography of American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023; Photo by Ron Blunt

What can you expect to see? Your favorite iconic works from SAAM’s collection by Alexander Calder, Jenny Holzer, Morris Louis, Kerry James Marshall, Nam June Paik, Martin Puryear, Sean Scully, Alma Thomas, and Mickalene Thomas are back on view alongside artworks recently added to the museum’s collection by artists including Firelei Báez, Tseng Kwong Chi, Audrey Flack, Alison Saar, Hank Willis Thomas, and Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Nation). You will find artists using new materials and techniques who were inspired by the social, cultural, and technological changes around them. Draw connections between artists, artistic movements, and historical narratives and get new perspectives through the integration of a range of media and practices including photography, video, craft, and work by self-taught artists.

Photograph of Smithsonian American Art Museum gallery.

Installation photography of American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023; Photo by Albert Ting

The installation acknowledges the multifaceted narratives, identities, and artistic practices that exist in the United States by including the often-overlooked histories and contributions by Asian American, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, women, and LGBTQ+ artists to provide a more expansive view of American art.  

View of SAAM gallery.

Installation photography of American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023; Photo by Albert Ting

View of SAAM gallery.
Hank Willis Thomas's Pledge is one of the 42 new works now on view. Thomas is a recent recipient of the U.S. State Department Medal of Arts. Installation photography of American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023; Photo by Albert Ting
View of SAAM gallery.

Installation photography of American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2023; Photo by Albert Ting

Hear from many of the artists featured in American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art.

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