Crawford Alexander Mann III has joined the curatorial staff at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) as the curator of prints and drawings. He began work April 3. Mann joins 12 curators currently on staff for contemporary art, photography, sculpture, contemporary craft, folk and self-taught art, Latino art, 19th-century painting, a chief curator who specializes in 20th-century art and a curator of contemporary interpretation.
Mann’s responsibilities include research, exhibitions and acquisitions related to the museum’s collection of prints, drawings and watercolors dating from the 18th century to the present. His research interests include Italian American artistic exchange on the Grand Tour, artists of the American South, the impact of East Asian watercolor and printmaking traditions on American art and the evolving visual constructions of masculinity, femininity and gender.
“Alex brings a global approach to American graphic arts,” said chief curator Virginia Mecklenburg. “His expertise in the relationship between American and international artistic currents, as well as the reciprocal influences among graphic arts, painting and sculpture will enrich the museum’s presentation of exceptional prints and drawings. We are delighted to welcome him.”
Before joining the museum staff, Mann was the Joan and Macon Brock Curator of American Art at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., from 2011 to 2017. While there he curated exhibitions about Abraham Lincoln, Georgia O’Keeffe and the civil rights movement, as well as oversaw a full reinstallation of the museum’s American art galleries, which reopened in 2014.
Mann earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and religious studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002. He received a master’s degree in art history in 2003 and a master’s degree in philosophy from Yale University in 2005. He was a Terra Foundation Predoctoral Fellow in American Art at SAAM in 2008. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate at Yale University where he is completing his dissertation titled “When in Rome: Italian Travel and the Pursuit of the Ideal Male Body in Antebellum American Art.”
“The collections and exhibitions of Smithsonian American Art Museum have long been a guide to my work as an historian of American Art,” Mann said. “I look forward to the responsibility and privilege of sharing its magnificent collection of prints and drawings with our visitors in Washington and online.”
SAAM is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. These artworks reveal America’s diverse artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The collection captures the aspirations, character and imagination of the American people in all media. Its graphic arts collection includes a broad range of artists from the 18th century to the present, with strong holdings in 20th-century prints, including in-depth collections of work by Howard Cook, Robert Cottingham, Werner Drewes, William H. Johnson, Louis Lozowick and Sean Scully. Other outstanding works include wood engravings by Winslow Homer, the original drawings for Elihu Vedder’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, an inclusive collection of WPA prints from the 1930s, Pop Art prints and contemporary works on paper, such as a monumental drawing by Mark Lombardi and an important series of prints by Kara Walker.
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.