A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.

Howard Kaplan


Blog Posts

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    Nam June Paik from A to Zen
    Nam June Paik was more than a guy who made sculptural work with televisions. He was a thoughtful, prescient artist who turned ideas about communication on its head in the middle of the twentieth century.
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    Seeing Things (9): Flowers in December
    This is the ninth in a series of personal observations about how people experience and explore museums. Take a look at Howard's other blog posts on the subject.
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    Seen and Not Heard: Kerry James Marshall
    Kerry James Marshall, whose work "Sob Sob" is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection, chronicles the African American experience in his paintings.
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    Art Critic Adam Gopnik on What Makes American Art American
    "Like most of you in this audience , I suspect, I am a museum goer, a gallery goer. I get no thrill as large as I do from simply setting foot in a museum and beginning to look,"
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    Through a Glass, Clearly: Art Glass @50
    "I'll be talking about the entire history of studio glass, all 3500 years of it, in about twelve minutes. That's 300 years per minute but I'm going to skip some centuries entirely," William Warmus, independent curator and studio glass expert said at the beginning of the recent program at the Renwick Gallery titled "Art Glass @50," that also featured the artists Toots Zynsky and Matthew Szösz.
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    Edward Hopper: Mapping the Light
    "Is there anything left to be said about Edward Hopper? Poet of light, documentarian of alienation, isolation, angst, stasis, human disconnection and impotence?" art historian Kevin Salatino asked at the start of his talk, Edward Hopper and the Burden of (Un)Certainty the first of this year's annual Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art.
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    These warm August afternoons often make me step inside of American Art not just to cool off, but to have an ah-ha moment with something that strikes me inside the museum: person or painting. Maybe it was the heat but the image that grabbed me today, Bar and Grill by Jacob Lawrence, was about quenching one's thirst while struggling with a deeper need: freedom.
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    The Moon is a Television: On Nam June Paik’s 80th
    Long before there was YouTube and social media, there was Nam June Paik who said, "Someday everybody will have his own TV channel."
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    Yes, But is it Art?
    About two dozen art enthusiasts gathered at American Art's Lincoln Gallery on Tuesday evening to take part in a conversation titled, "Is This Art?"
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    No Crystal Stair: African American Art
    In a poem titled, "Mother to Son," Langston Hughes wrote of an African American woman's hardships, as she advises her son to never give up: "Well, son, I'll tell you:/Life for me ain't been no crystal stair..." Far from it. These steps have tacks, splinters and torn up boards. Sometimes the stairs are bare. It is these steps I was reminded of when I visited American Art's new exhibition, African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights, and Beyond, on view through September 3, 2012.
  • Blog Image 54 - The Moving Image: Watch This 2.0
    The Moving Image: Watch This 2.0
    Watch This! New Directions in the Art of the Moving Image, the dynamic exhibition of time-based media has been reinstalled, with new examples of video art that span the last fifty years. It has its own dedicated gallery on the third floor of the museum and is a welcoming space filled with works that fascinate, stimulate, and resonate.
  • Blog Image 105 - Throwback Thursday: Seats of Power (and an Occasional Settee)
    Seats of Power (and an Occasional Settee)
    Behind every good sunrise lurks an inevitable sunset. This Sunday, May 6, Something of Splendor: Decorative Arts from the White House closes at American Art's Renwick Gallery after a near seven-month run.
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    Getting Below the Surface: On American Painters and Their Paints
    Somewhere between the letters PhD and CSI lives the amazing work of painting conservators. Part researcher and part detective, they study paintings with state-of-the-art tools that help them see through layers of paint and varnish and enable them to conserve works of art whose colors may have gradually shifted over time and whose canvases may show signs of age.
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    New Acquisition: Abstract Landscape by Felrath Hines
    When you hear the name Felrath Hines, you may at first say "Who?" but after viewing some of his work, including the recently acquired Abstract Landscape and Radiant, you may ask why you hadn't heard of him before.
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    Annie Leibovitz’s State of the Union
    On Tuesday, January 24, a couple of hours before the President delivered his address to Congress, Annie Leibovitz presented her own state of the union to a sold-out audience at American Art's McEvoy Auditorium.
  • Leibovitz: Niagra Falls
    Pilgrimage: Five Questions with Annie Leibovitz
    Pilgrimage is a personal journey by photographer Annie Leibovitz, celebrated over the decades for her astute portraits of the cultural landscape.
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    We Remember Helen Frankenthaler (19282011)
    Helen Frankenthalter, the last of the Abstract Expressionists, died on December 27, 2011, at the age of eighty-three. In 1951, when she was only twenty-three, she began to soak, or stain, her canvasses with extremely thin paint.
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    Inventing Equality: On Patents in the Great American Hall of Wonders
    The current exhibition, The Great American Hall of Wonders celebrates the 19th-century American spirit of ingenuity through the examination of art, science, and invention. It was a great time to be a scientist, unless, of course, you were a woman (with the field of astronomy being the exception, thanks in part to astronomer Maria Mitchell and the comet she discovered in 1847), a newly arrived immigrant, or a person of color recently granted freedom.
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    Seeing Double: On Multiplicity
    Multiplicity features contemporary prints from the museum's permanent collection. All of the prints are editions and each impression is considered a work of art. Also of interest is the fact that the works on view represent a collaboration between artist and printer.
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    Mousetrap 101: Patents and Innovation with Collector Alan Rothschild
    The American Art Museum is no stranger to invention. The building that houses the museum was formerly the United States Patent Office (President Andrew Jackson authorized the construction of the building in 1836), with thousands of patent models on display on the third floor, including one designed by President Lincoln.