Books

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases American craft like never before. Accompanying a 2022 exhibition of the same name, it features artists’ stories of resilience, methods of activism, and highlights craft’s ability to spark essential conversations about race, gender, and representation

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Remembering the Running Fence

Remembering the Running Fence revisits the ephemeral splendor of the remarkable outdoor installation, the Running Fence , an eighteen-foot-high white nylon fence that stretched more than twenty-four miles across Marin and Sonoma counties in northern California.

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases American craft like never before. Accompanying a 2022 exhibition of the same name, it features artists’ stories of resilience, methods of activism, and highlights craft’s ability to spark essential conversations about race, gender, and representation

Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018

Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018 features essays written by the jurors that explore how each artist has used their chosen media to contribute beyond the confines of the art world.

Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor

The official catalogue for the exhibition Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor, on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from September 28, 2018 through April 7, 2019, is by curator Leslie Umberger, with an introduction by artist Kerry James Marshall.

Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen

A midcareer survey of this MacArthur Award–winning artist, this catalogue presents Paglen’s early photographic series alongside his recent sculptural objects and new work with artificial intelligence.

Diane Arbus: A box of ten photographs

In late 1969, Diane Arbus (1923–1971) began to work on a portfolio. She titled it A box of ten photographs. This catalogue traces the history of A box of ten photographs using the eleven-print set that she made for Bea Feitler, art director at Harper’s Bazaar. It was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 1986 and is the only one of the portfolios completed and sold by Arbus that is publicly held.  All eleven prints are beautifully reproduced, along with their handwritten vellums.

Tamayo: The New York Years

Tamayo: The New York Years offers a unique opportunity to trace Rufino Tamayo's artistic development through sixty works—from early woodcuts and bold canvasses, through paintings depicting the modern city, to his final dream-like, celestial-themed compositions.

Isamu Noguchi, Archaic / Modern

Sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) made works that “speak of both the modern and the ancient in the same breath.” An essay by Dakin Hart traces themes in Noguchi’s sixty-year career—an expansive vision that ranged from landscape art to garden and playground designs, from sculptures featuring plan

The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi

Painter, photographer, and printmaker Yasuo Kuniyoshi immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1906 and began a journey through New York City, Europe, and Japan that forged his unique painting style.

George Catlin and His Indian Gallery

Troccoli, Joan, et.al.

The year was 1830, and the American West was entering a phase of rapid transformation. Passage of the Indian Removal Act commenced the twelve-year migration of American Indians from lands east of the Mississippi River.

Renwick Invitational 2016: Visions and Revisions

Visions and Revisions celebrates the work of four contemporary craft artists—Steven Young Lee, Kristen Morgin, Jennifer Trask, and Norwood Viviano. Artworks from each artist defy expectations as they meditate on decline and decay, resilience and rebirth. Visions and Revisionsfeatures an essay about each artist from authors Nora Atkinson, Suzanne Ramljak, and Anna Walker.

June Schwarcz: Invention & Variation

For more than sixty years, June Schwarcz (1918–2015) advanced the art of enameling—fusing glass to metal through a high-temperature firing process—while creating works that combine rich textures and luminous color.June Schwarcz: Invention & Variation celebrates this pioneering artist with fifty-nine full-color plates representing a wide selection of her work, from traditional vessels and boxes to wall-mounted panels and modernist sculpture.

Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection

This in-depth look at a renowned collection, ranging from bottlecap giraffes and wood carvings to hand-sewn quilts, provides a new understanding of folk art, recognizing its achievements as an essential part of America’s visual heritage.

Li'l Sis and Uncle Willie

Through the eyes of almost-six-year-old Li'l Sis, the colorful story of Uncle Willie unfolds, a story that changes forever a little girl's perceptions of art and the world around her. The book is based on the life of African American artist William H. Johnson (1901–1970) and illustrated with his paintings.

Temple of Invention: History of a National Landmark

This lavishly illustrated history of America’s Patent Office Building illuminates the importance of a treasured national landmark. Today the building is home to two Smithsonian museums, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

An Impressionist Sensibility: The Halff Collection

This full-color catalogue provides a rare insight into a stunning private collection of American Art. Hugh and Marie Halff, connoisseurs based in San Antonio, Texas, have read, studied, and traveled widely in their quest.

Earl Cunningham's America

Garrett, Wendell, et al.

Earl Cunningham (1893–1977) was one of the premier folk artists of the twentieth century. Earl Cunningham’s America presents Cunningham as a folk modernist who used the flat space and brilliant color typical of Matisse and Van Gogh to create sophisticated compositions.

Staged Stories: Renwick Craft Invitational 2009

Staged Stories: Renwick Craft Invitational 2009 showcases the talent of four exceptional artists: Christyl Boger, Mark Newport, Mary Van Cline, and SunKoo Yuh. Working in the traditional media of clay, fiber, and glass, these artists push their material to communicate in new ways.

History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011

History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011 features four extraordinary artists whose work explores the deep roots of contemporary American craft and decorative arts. Ubaldo Vitali, a fourth-generation silversmith uses classical techniques learned in Rome to create luminous works. Cliff Lee, a neurosurgeon, creates elegant porcelain vessels with the exactitude of a doctor. Judith Schaechter brings a wealth of knowledge about traditional stained glass practice to her moody windows. Mathias Pliessnig combines traditional boat-building techniques and 3-D design technology to create innovative seating furniture out of stem-bent oak strips. Authors Nicholas R. Bell, Ulysses Grant Dietz, and Andrew Wagner examine how each artist mines and transcends tradition.

To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America

An American painter usually associated with the precisionist movement, George Copeland Ault (1891–1948) created works that provide a unique window onto the uncertainty and despair of the Second World War. To Make a World is the first major publication on Ault in more than two decades and features nearly twenty of Ault’s paintings alongside works by twenty-two of his contemporaries, including Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth.

Nam June Paik: Global Visionary

Internationally recognized as the “father of video art,” Korean-born artist Nam June Paik (1932–2006) transformed twentieth-century art. His innovative media-based artwork was grounded in avant-garde music and performance art, which he used to expand video and television as artistic expressions. Nam June Paik: Global Visionary offers a view into the artist’s creative method by featuring key artworks that convey Paik’s extraordinary accomplishments as well as selections from the Nam June Paik Archive.

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, The Civil Rights Movement, and Beyond

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond offers a rich vision of twentieth-century visual culture. Virginia Mecklenburg, curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, assembled engaging entries on the one-hundred paintings, sculptures, and photographs by forty-three black artists that comprise catalogue of this exhibition. All of the artworks in the exhibition are drawn from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s rich collection of African American art.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art explores how Latino artists shaped the artistic movements of their day and recalibrated key themes in American art and culture. This beautifully illustrated volume focuses on works created from the 1950s to the present, a turning point in our national culture that witnessed the “birth” and transformation of Latino art.

Untitled: The Art of James Castle

Untitled: The Art of James Castle celebrates one of the most enigmatic American artists of the twentieth century. For nearly seven decades, Castle gathered materials around his rural Idaho home, such as packaging, advertisements, string, and soot, and created an elaborate and umistakable representation of his world.

National Museum of American Art

The striking design of this book showcases a comprehensive survey of the world’s largest collection of works by American artists, ranging from colonial limners to the contemporary avant-garde.

George Catlin’s American Buffalo

Artist George Catlin journeyed west five times in the 1830s, traversing the Great Plains and visiting more than 140 American Indian tribes. In hundreds of canvases, Catlin recorded the lifeways of Plains Indians, including illustrating massive herds of buffalo and their importance in daily life. In George Catlin’s American Buffalo, Adam Duncan Harris considers forty of Catlin’s paintings and the artist’s role as an early proponent of wilderness conservation and the national park idea, and how that advocacy remains relevant today—to the Great Plains, the buffalo, and land use.

The Civil War and American Art

The Civil War and American Art looks at the range of artwork created in the years between 1852 and 1877. Author Eleanor Jones Harvey surveys paintings made by some of America’s finest artists, including Frederic Edwin Church, Sanford Gifford, Winslow Homer, and Eastman Johnson, and photographs taken by George Barnard, Alexander Gardner, and Timothy O’Sullivan.

Edward Hopper: The Watercolors

In the 1920s, inspired perhaps by the particular light and quality of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Edward Hopper began painting watercolors. He has been celebrated since then as one of the most eloquent of America’s realists.

40 Under 40: Craft Futures

40 Under 40: Craft Futures examines the expanding role of the handmade in contemporary culture through the work of the next generation of artists.

Modern Masters: American Abstraction at Midcentury

Modern Masters: American Abstraction at Midcentury features more than thirty artists who transformed American art in the years after World War II. Seventy artworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, reproduced in full color, convey the dynamism and raw energy of the period. Photographs and biographical details provide intimate portraits of Richard Diebenkorn, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, and others who explored powerful color and the nuance of line.

Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten

Author Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964) began making portraits in 1932. Over the next three decades, he asked writers, musicians, athletes, politicians, and others to sit for him—many of them central figures in the Harlem Renaissance.

American Louvre

Designed by James Renwick Jr. in 1858, the building that houses the Renwick Gallery was the first in the United States conceived expressly as a public art museum.

WONDER

WONDER celebrates the renovation and reopening of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery with an immersive web of magic.

Craft for a Modern World

Craft for a Modern World presents 150 of the Renwick Gallery’s 2,000 artworks in a new light, celebrating the restoration and reopening of its historic landmark home. Encouraging readers to find their own connections—as they have come to expect in today’s hyperlinked world—curator Nora Atkinson describes some of her associations among these artifacts of makers, both contemporary and pioneer. Readers can engage the artworks through subtle linkages in the color plates, which introduce related works in black and white. According to Atkinson, the artworks in this catalogue, many of them newly photographed, “are a playground for the mind.”

A Measure of the Earth

A Measure of the Earth provides an window into the traditional basketry revival of the past fifty years.

Skilled Work : American Craft in the Renwick Gallery

Trapp
Published as a celebration of the Renwick Gallery’s twenty-fifth anniversary, this book masterfully illustrates the intellectual and tactile excitement found in American crafts. Photographs of exquisite clarity give this volume an optical effervescence. Each fiber, each woodgrain, each coil of rope has depth and dimension that tempt us to touch. Kenneth Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick, and Howard Risatti, professor of art history at Virginia Commonwealth University, discuss the profound meaning these objects have in our lives.

Going West! Quilts and Community

Often called the great corridor of America’s westward expansion, in the nineteenth century the Great Platte River Road carried wagon trains and settlers through Nebraska Territory to points farther west.

Studio Furniture

The eighty-four pieces of studio furniture owned by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum constitute one of the largest assemblages of American studio furniture in the nation.

1934: A New Deal for Artists

During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists.

Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York

The six artists whose earthy, urban subjects led critics to call them the “Ashcan School” are featured in this book. The authors document how closely the work of these artists reflected current events and social concerns at the turn of the century.

Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow

Marsh, Joanna; Avery, Kevin; and Lovejoy, Thomas

Inspired by nineteenth-century landscape painting, science-fiction film, and firsthand study, Rockman’s paintings proffer a vision of the natural world that is equal parts fantasy and empirical fact.

The Great American Hall of Wonders

The Great American Hall of Wonders is a vividly illustrated survey of the American ingenuity that energized all aspects of nineteenth-century society, from the painting of landscapes and scenes of everyday life to the planning of scientific expedition and the development of new mechanica

Spanish Harlem ("American Scene" series, No. 3)

Joseph Rodriguez’s color photographs bring the reader inside Spanish Harlem, where he documents not only the grim realities of drug abuse, AIDS, and crime in New York’s oldest barrio, but also its vibrant street life.

Nation Building

Nation Building: Craft and Contemporary American Culture brings together twenty voices leading the current dialogue about critical craft studies.