Media Advisory — Press Preview for New Photography Exhibition That Explores Cultural Mythologizing of Iconic Symbols of American Identity

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Laura Baptiste
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Press preview for exhibition “American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs

Thursday, June 6
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
: 11 a.m.
Remarks and tour: 11:30 a.m.

Smithsonian American Art Museum
Enter at Eighth and G streets N.W.

Stephanie Stebich, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director, Smithsonian American Art Museum
Joanna Marsh, deputy education chair and head of interpretation and audience research, Smithsonian American Art Museum
David Levinthal, artist

Through images that are populated with cowboys, Barbie dolls and baseball figurines, artist David Levinthal explores the cultural prominence of quintessential American subjects and the influence of mass media in mythologizing them. The exhibition includes 74 color photographs of toys in constructed scenarios, created between 1984 and 2018, from two recent gifts to the Smithsonian American Art Museum of more than 400 photographs by the artist. The images are drawn from six of Levinthal’s most well-known series—“Modern Romance,” “American Beauties,” “Barbie,” “Wild West,” “Baseball” and “History.” Through these works, Levinthal explores what it means to be strong, beautiful, masculine, feminine and, ultimately, American.

“American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs” will be open to the public June 7 to through Oct. 14.

Information about the exhibition is available in an online press kit at

Interested media should RSVP to Photographers and film crews are welcome; contact the office in advance to make arrangements. Requests for one-on-one interviews may be made in advance with Laura Baptiste by email at

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the flagship museum of American art and craft. It is home to one of the most significant and inclusive collections of American art in the world. The museum’s main building, located at 8th and G Streets N.W., is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. The museum’s Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check online for current hours and admission information. Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website:

Press Images

  • Press - David Levinthal

    Press - David Levinthal

    David Levinthal, Untitled from the series Wild West, 1989, instant color print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous donor, 2018.3.190, © 1989, David Levinthal