Past Exhibitions


A close up image of a white orchid in a multicolored container featuring an abstract design with purple, blue, yellow, pink and white colors. In the background are green plants held in matching multicolored containers featuring an abstract design in pink, white, purple and gold colors.
The Future of Orchids: Conservation and Collaboration
This exhibition from Smithsonian Gardens features 200 varieties of orchids alongside works by contemporary multimedia artist Phaan Howng.
January 27, 2024April 28, 2024


Media - 2023.9A-G - SAAM-2023.9A-G_1 - 147614
Carrie Mae Weems: Looking Forward, Looking Back
This focused exhibition pairs two projects by Carrie Mae Weems—a major multimedia installation and a series of photographs—that revisit moments from history.
September 22, 2023July 7, 2024
J. P. Ball, Unidentified sitter, 1858–60, daguerreotype
J. P. Ball and Robert S. Duncanson: An African American Artistic Collaboration
This focused exhibition pairs artwork by two Black artists working in the mid-nineteenth century—photographer J. P. Ball and painter Robert S. Duncanson.
September 15, 2023March 24, 2024
 The Protagonist of an Endless Story by Angel Rodríguez-Díaz
Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea
Ideas about the American West, both in popular culture and in commonly accepted historical narratives, are often based on a past that never was, and fail to take into account important events that actually occurred.
July 28, 2023January 15, 2024
Media - 2020.54.1 - SAAM-2020.54.1_2 - 139600
Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies
Musical Thinking explores the powerful resonances between recent video art and popular music.
June 23, 2023January 28, 2024
Artist Lily Hope with an ornamental headdress
Sharing Honors and Burdens: Renwick Invitational 2023
Artists Joe Feddersen (Arrow Lakes/Okanagan), Lily Hope (Tlingit), Ursala Hudson (Tlingit), Erica Lord (Athabaskan/Iñupiat), Geo Neptune (Passamaquoddy), and Maggie Thompson (Fond du Lac Ojibwe) present a fresh and nuanced vision of Native American art.
May 26, 2023March 31, 2024


Media - 2016.38.43R-V - SAAM-2016.38.43R-V_2 - 126225
We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection
We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection traces the rise of self-taught artists in the twentieth century and examines how, despite wide-ranging societal, racial, and gender-based obstacles, their creativity and
July 1, 2022March 26, 2023
Quilt featuring the portrait of a woman
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World
This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft today.
May 13, 2022April 2, 2023
A silhouette of a woman standing in front of orchids is shown
Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women
Step into a floral oasis in the Kogod Courtyard with Orchids: Hidden Stories of Groundbreaking Women, an exhibition that unearths stories of women who have enriched the understanding and appreciation of orchids.
January 29, 2022April 24, 2022


A chandelier made of glass that looks like meat.
New Glass Now
New Glass Now documents the innovation and dexterity of artists, designers, and architects from around the world working in the challenging material of glass.
October 22, 2021March 6, 2022
An artwork image of a woman
Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano 
This exhibition brings to life the Venetian glass revival of the nineteenth century on the famed island of Murano and the artistic experimentation the city inspired for artists such as John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler.
October 8, 2021May 8, 2022
Media - 1983.63.998 - SAAM-1983.63.998_1 - 55235
Welcome Home: A Portrait of East Baltimore, 1975 – 1980
Welcome Home: A Portrait of East Baltimore, 1975-1980 captures a cross-section of East Baltimore residents and businesses in the 1970s, documenting the community’s history and diversity.
July 16, 2021January 23, 2022
A painting of a bridge made from nature.
Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture
The groundbreaking exhibition Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture reveals how the influential naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) shaped American perceptions of nature and the way American
May 14, 2021July 11, 2021
Media - 2019.29.1 - SAAM-2019.29.1_1 - 138052
Dawoud Bey and William H. Johnson
This focused installation features recently acquired photographs by Dawoud Bey in conversation with a painting by William H. Johnson that refer to the Underground Railroad.
May 12, 2021August 5, 2021
abstract shapes painted in silver with seven silver ornaments.
Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020
Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020 features artists Lauren Fensterstock, Timothy Horn, Debora Moore, and Rowland Ricketts. Representing craft media from fiber to mosaic to glass and metals, these artists approach the long history of art’s engagem
May 11, 2021August 15, 2021


Media - 2012.53.1 - SAAM-2012.53.1_1 - 82036
¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now
In the 1960s, activist Chicano artists forged a remarkable history of printmaking that remains vital today.
November 20, 2020August 8, 2021
An artwork with small details made of beads depicting nature.
Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists
Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists is the first major thematic exhibition to explore the artistic achievements of Native women.
February 21, 2020March 13, 2020


A watercolor image of Grand Canyon.
Chiura Obata: American Modern
Japanese-born artist Chiura Obata’s seemingly effortless synthesis of different art traditions defies the usual division between “East” and “West.” This exhibition presents the most comprehensive survey of his rich and varied body of work to date, from bo
November 27, 2019March 13, 2020
Media - 1985.66.404 - SAAM-1985.66.404_1 - 9039
Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists
Picturing the American Buffalo: George Catlin and Modern Native American Artists examines representations of buffalo and their integration into the lives of Native Americans on the Great Plains in the 1830s and in the twentieth century.
October 11, 2019March 13, 2020
This is an image of a flower coming out of a tree trunk
Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination
Ginny Ruffner (b. 1952) is a glass artist best known for her elegant sculptures and mastery of glass techniques.
June 28, 2019January 5, 2020
Media - 2005.34 - SAAM-2005.34_3 - 69173
Michael Sherrill Retrospective
In his delicately rendered sculptures in clay, glass, and metal, Michael Sherrill seeks to elicit a sense of wonder from viewers, and to make them see the natural world anew.
June 28, 2019January 5, 2020
Media - 2017.32.10 - SAAM-2017.32.10_1 - 133751
American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs 
Populated with toy cowboys and cavalry, Barbie dolls and baseball players, David Levinthal’s photographs reference iconic images and events that shaped postwar American society.
June 7, 2019October 14, 2019
Media - 1979.159.44 - SAAM-1979.159.44_1 - 56988
Sculpture Down to Scale: Models for Public Art at Federal Buildings, 1974 – 1985
Artists used preliminary models—or maquettes—to communicate their ideas.
May 31, 2019November 22, 2020
Tiffany Chung
Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue
Through maps, videos, and paintings that highlight the voices and stories of former Vietnamese refugees, Tiffany Chung probes the legacies of the Vietnam War and its aftermath.
March 15, 2019September 2, 2019
Martha Rosler, Red Strip Kitchen
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965 – 1975
Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975 makes vivid an era in which artists endeavored to respond to the turbulent times and openly questioned issues central to American civic life.
March 15, 2019August 18, 2019
A photograph inside the Kogod Courtyard of orchids in various colors.
Orchids: Amazing Adaptations
Orchids: Amazing Adaptations is a joint collaboration with SAAM, the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Gardens, and the U.S. Botanic Garden. This installation fills the museums’ courtyard with hundreds of orchids of stunning variety.
February 14, 2019April 28, 2019


This is a picture of a circular sculpture piece resting on a chair.
Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018
Disrupting Craft presents the work of Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth, and Stephanie Syjuco, four artists who challenge the conventional definitions of craft by imbuing it with a renewed sense of emotional purpose, inclusiveness, and activis
November 9, 2018May 5, 2019
Media - 2016.14.5 - SAAM-2016.14.5_2 - 129305
Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor
Bill Traylor is regarded today as one of the most important American artists of the twentieth century. His drawn and painted imagery embodies the crossroads of multiple worlds: black and white, rural and urban, old and new.
September 27, 2018April 7, 2019
Media - 2012.24.1 - SAAM-2012.24.1_1-000001 - 82537
Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen
Trevor Paglen blurs the lines between art, science, and investigative journalism to construct unfamiliar and at times unsettling ways to see and interpret the world around us.
June 21, 2018January 6, 2019
A black and white photograph by Diane Arbus titled "Mrs. Gladys 'Mitzi' Ulrich with the baby, Sam, a stump-tailed macaque monkey"
Diane Arbus: A box of ten photographs 
This exhibition traces the history of A box of ten photographs between 1969 and 1973, telling the crucial story of the portfolio that established the foundation for Arbus’s posthumous career.
April 6, 2018January 27, 2019