Sarah Newman, James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art

Sarah Newman is the James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She joined the museum staff in September 2016. Her responsibilities include research, exhibitions, and acquisitions related to the museum’s collection of contemporary art. Her research interests include the relationship between contemporary art and design, and the art of the 1980s.

Newman is the curator of the upcoming exhibition “Tiffany Chung: Vietnam, Past Is Prologue,” which opens at the museum on March 15, 2019, and is currently overseeing a reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries for contemporary art. She organized the exhibition “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home” (2018) and “Kara Walker: Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)" (2017). Newman served as the guest curator for “Theaster Gates: The Minor Arts,” which opened March 5, 2017, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Newman was curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from 2006 to 2014. While at the Corcoran, she developed “NOW at the Corcoran,” a series of commissioned exhibitions and performances by emerging and midcareer artists including Mia Feuer, Spencer Finch, Ellen Harvey, Chris Martin and Enoc Perez. In addition, she organized “30 Americans,” a survey of contemporary African American art (2011), and was the curator of “Washington Color and Light: Works from the Washington Color School” (2010).

She has taught at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, George Mason University and Georgetown University.

Newman earned a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.

About the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrates the vision and creativity of Americans with artworks in all media spanning more than four centuries. Its National Historic Landmark building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Website:

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