“We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection”
July 1 to March 26, 2023
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Eighth and G streets N.W.
“We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection” traces the rise of self-taught artists in the 20th century and examines how, despite wide-ranging societal, racial and gender-based obstacles, their creativity and bold self-definition became major forces in American art. Artists without formal training, who learned from family, community and personal journeys, have long been a presence in American art. But it was not until the 1980s, with the help of trailblazing advocates, that the collective force of their creative vision and presence irrevocably turned the tide in the mainstream art world.
This exhibition is the first display of over 90 works from collector Margaret Z. Robson’s gift to the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2016. A guiding light for modern collectors, Robson fully embraced artworks that reflected diverse and accessible viewpoints on the American story. This legacy continues through her son, Douglas O. Robson, with his own promised gift of over 30 artworks to the museum. The exhibition is organized by Leslie Umberger, curator of folk and self-taught art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
An accompanying catalog features more than 100 works with two new essays from Douglas O. Robson and Umberger. It is co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum in association with Princeton University Press.
For More Information
For more information about the exhibition, visit “We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection”
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Note to the Editors: Selected high-resolution images for publication only are available through the museum’s Dropbox account. Email AmericanArtPressOffice@si.edu to request the link.
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: americanart.si.edu.