Past Exhibitions

2015

Media - 2010.23 - SAAM-2010.23_1 - 73854
Watch This! Revelations in Media Art
Watch This! Revelations in Media Art presents pioneering and contemporary artworks that trace the evolution of a continuously emerging medium.
April 23, 2015September 6, 2015
A painting of a woman sitting down and reading 'Le Figaro'
Special Installation of Nineteen American Masterworks
Integrated within the chronological flow of the museum’s permanent collection, these masterworks from Gilded Age, Impressionist, and Ashcan School painters will help to tell the story of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries in America, a “coming
April 17, 2015August 16, 2015
Media - 1986.6.50 - SAAM-1986.6.50_3 - 135165
The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi
Kuniyoshi emigrated to America from Japan as a teenager, rising to prominence in the New York art world during the 1920s to become one of the most esteemed artists in America between the two world wars.
April 2, 2015August 29, 2015
Media - 2013.8.28 - SAAM-2013.8.28_1 - 88697
Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits
The Mingering Mike collection comprises artworks constructed as part of the artist’s youthful fantasy of becoming a famous soul singer and songwriter, including LP albums made from painted cardboard, original album art, song lyrics and liner notes, self-r
February 27, 2015August 1, 2015
Media - 2004.20 - SAAM-2004.20_1 - 64748
Direct Carving
Spontaneous! Truthful! Liberating! Direct carvers often used such words to describe their unconventional method of sculpting, in which an artist works directly on a piece of stone or wood as opposed to with a model, cast, or preconceived design.
February 1, 2015July 12, 2020

2014

An image of two red and blue birds in a tree at night
The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art
Birds have long been a source of mystery and awe. Today, a growing desire to meaningfully connect with the natural world has fostered a resurgence of popular interest in the winged creatures that surround us daily.
October 30, 2014February 22, 2015
Richard Estes painting of a diner
Richard Estes’ Realism
Richard Estes is considered the foremost practitioner of the international group of artists known loosely as photorealists and has been celebrated for more than forty-five years as the premier painter of American cityscapes.
October 9, 2014February 8, 2015
Media - 2013.27.1 - SAAM-2013.27.1_2 - 92204
Untitled: The Art of James Castle
In 2013 the Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired 54 pieces by James Castle (1899-1977). With this acquisition, the museum now holds one of the largest public collections of Castle’s work.
September 25, 2014February 1, 2015
Family Supper, by Ralph Fasanella
Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget
Ralph Fasanella (1914-1997) celebrated the common man and tackled complex issues of postwar America in colorful, socially-minded paintings.
May 1, 2014August 2, 2014
Media - 1966.29.23 - SAAM-1966.29.23_1 - 2177
Pop Art Prints
In the 1950s and 1960s, pop art offered a stark contrast to abstract expressionism, then the dominant movement in American art.
March 20, 2014August 30, 2014
Media - 1986.6.92 - SAAM-1986.6.92_3 - 135150
Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection
Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection presents some of the most treasured artworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection, including works by Will Barnet, Isabel Bishop, Paul Cadmus, Arthur Dove, Na
February 28, 2014August 16, 2014

2013

Media - 2011.12 - SAAM-2011.12_1 - 77591
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-twentieth century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge.
October 24, 2013March 2, 2014
Media - 2011.47.38 - SAAM-2011.47.38_3 - 88797
A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets
A Measure of the Earth: The Cole-Ware Collection of American Baskets explores the revival of traditional basketry in America during the past fifty years through works by sixty-three contemporary basketmakers.
October 3, 2013December 8, 2013
Media - 1993.54.6A-J - SAAM-1993.54.6A-J_1 - 83609
Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby
Wayne Higby (b. 1943) is one of the most innovative second generation artists to come out of the post-World War II American ceramic studio movement.
October 3, 2013December 8, 2013
Media - 1985.53.1 - SAAM-1985.53.1_1 - 82364
Landscapes In Passing: Photographs by Steve Fitch, Robbert Flick, and Elaine Mayes
The American landscape has inspired generations of artists, but the 48 photographs in this presentation— by Steve Fitch, Robbert Flick and Elaine Mayes— are a far cry from traditional representations of the subject.
July 25, 2013February 23, 2014
A photograph of a tricycle at a low angle
A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the numerous ways in which photography, from early daguerreotypes to contemporary digital works, has captured the American experience.
June 27, 2013January 5, 2014
Media - 2012.56 - 2012.56_1a.jpg - 88539
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image (3.0)
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image is a series of rotating exhibitions drawn from SAAM’s permanent collection.
April 30, 2013February 15, 2015
A bureau made of mahogany, yellow pine, and poplar
Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color
Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color fully examines the extraordinary career of Thomas Day (1801–about 1861), who owned and operated one of North Carolina’s most successful cabinet shops before the Civil War.
April 11, 2013July 27, 2013
Media - 2000.47.35 - SAAM-2000.47.35_1 - 80042
Pictures in the Parlor
Pictures in the Parlor examines decorative images from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth century that were used in domestic interiors to convey the values, aspirations, and achievements of their owners.
February 1, 2013July 6, 2013

2012

Media - 2002.23 - SAAM-2002.23_1 - 81981
Nam June Paik: Global Visionary
The artwork and ideas of the Korean-born artist Nam June Paik were a major influence on late twentieth-century art and continue to inspire a new generation of artists.
December 13, 2012August 10, 2013
Media - 1986.79 - SAAM-1986.79_2 - 133578
The Civil War and American Art
The Civil War and American Art examines how America’s artists represented the impact of the Civil War and its aftermath.
November 16, 2012April 27, 2013
Media - 2011.54.1 - SAAM-2011.54.1_2 - 80091
40 under 40: Craft Futures
40 under 40: Craft Futures features forty artists born since 1972, the year the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s contemporary craft and decorative arts program was established at its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery.
July 19, 2012February 3, 2013
Media - 1996.104.55 - SAAM-1996.104.55_1 - 55872
Abstract Drawings
Abstract Drawings presents a selection of forty-six works on paper from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection that are rarely on public display.
June 14, 2012January 6, 2013
Media - 2010.52 - SAAM-2010.52_1 - 74044
African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond
African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond presents a selection of paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs by forty-three black artists who explored the African American experience from the Harlem Renaissance thr
April 26, 2012September 2, 2012
Blog Image 244 - Video Games: Now A Part of American Art's Collection
The Art of Video Games
The Art of Video Games is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies.
March 16, 2012September 30, 2012
Media - 2007.33.18 - SAAM-2007.33.18_1 - 79820
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image (2.0)
Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image is a series of rotating exhibitions drawn from SAAM’s permanent collection.
March 15, 2012April 13, 2013
A photograph of Niagara Falls
Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage
Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage charts a new direction for one of America's best-known living photographers.
January 20, 2012May 19, 2012

2011

Media - 2000.53 - SAAM-2000.53_1 - 13628
Multiplicity
Multiplicity features 83 works from the museum’s permanent collection by such outstanding contemporary artists as John Baldessari, John Cage, Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, R.
November 11, 2011March 11, 2012
Media - 2011.37.13 - SAAM-2011.37.13_3 - 92253
Inventing a Better Mousetrap: Patent Models from the Rothschild Collection
The exhibition Inventing a Better Mousetrap features thirty-two models illustrating the wide variety of nineteenth-century patented inventions submitted by inventors from across the United States.
November 11, 2011November 4, 2013
An image of a mahogany armchair with blue and gold upholstery
Something of Splendor: Decorative Arts from the White House
This 2011 exhibition allowed visitors to explore the history of the decorative arts in the nation's foremost home. It included 95 objects from the permanent collection of the White House.
September 30, 2011May 5, 2012