Research and Scholarship

  • In This Case: Art’s Role Regarding the Sacred

    If you have ever visited a centuries-old Roman church or an Islamic mosque, you may have glimpsed the role visual arts play in the beliefs, practices and narratives concerning the sacred. In the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Luce Foundation Center, three pieces of art provide a snapshot of the different ways art has connected individuals and community to spirituality.
  • Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (5)

    E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM was recently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: The New York Years. This is the fifth in a series of posts Carmen scribed from the road. Stay tuned for more updates. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.
  • Nicholas Nixon's The Brown Sisters

    The museum recently acquired The Brown Sisters, an intimate series of forty photographs that spans four decades and captures the poignancy of family relationships and bonds between siblings.
  • Symposium: Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History

    On October 16th–17th, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will hold the final event in its five-part series: "The Terra Symposia on American Art in a Global Context." This fall's capstone event, "Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History," speakers will discuss the transformation of the field over the past decade and suggests future directions for scholarship.
    Jeff on October 1, 2015
  • Finding a 19th Century Shortcut: The Body Casting of Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave

    Karen Lemmey, SAAM's sculpture curator, has organized an installation entitled Measured Perfection: Hiram Powers' Greek Slave. Powers' Greek Slave was one of the most popular sculptures of the 19th century. As part of her preparation, Karen worked with Smithsonian X 3D, part of the Institution's Digitization program, to create a 3D model of the this sculpture. Karen continues to explain the process. You may also read her first post on creating a 3D model of the sculpture, as well as a piece about conserving the Greek Slave.
    Jeff on July 22, 2015
  • Computers and Art

    This blog post is adapted from an essay written by Michael Mansfield, associate curator of film and media arts, to accompany the exhibition, Watch This! Revelations in Media Art, opening April 24 and running through September 7.
    Jeff on March 23, 2015
  • American Muralist Tom Lea

    On September 24, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will co-host a national conference that examines the importance of preserving WPA-era murals using the work of celebrated American muralist Tom Lea as a case study.
    Jeff on September 23, 2014
  • In this Case: Nam June Paik Archive

    If you've been following Eye Level for a while, you won't be surprised to know we love Nam June Paik. We celebrate his birthday every summer and held a comprehensive exhibition of more than 60 of his artworks, some of which were on public view for the first time. This month, we completed the installation of the Paik Archive case in the Luce Foundation Center. If you were able to see the exhibition you might remember some of these pieces from our Paik archive wall, including the sitting red Buddha and four martial arts figurines.