American Art Journal

The leading peer-reviewed journal of American art history and related visual culture

Since its founding in 1987, American Art has been an indispensable source for scholars, educators, curators, museum-goers, collectors, and professors and students at colleges and universities worldwide. The journal critically engages material and conceptual conditions of art and provides a forum for the expanding field of American art history. It considers the role played by art in the ongoing transnational and transcultural formation of America as a contested geography, identity, and idea. Full-color plates and concise prose offer broad appeal.

Current Issue - Spring 2020

A journal cover with artwork

Cover: Ruth Asawa, Untitled S.089, Hanging Asymmetrical Twelve Interlocking Bubbles), ca. 1957. Galvanized steel, brass, and iron wire, 26 × 22 × 17 in. The Asawa Family Collection. Artwork © Estate of Ruth Asawa. Image courtesy of David Zwirner. Photo: Dan Bradica

In the Spring 2020 issue of American Art:

  • Jason Vartikar argues Ruth Asawa’s wire sculptures resemble cellular reproduction and are metaphors for racial equality.
  • Monica Bravo looks at the modernity of Mexican tavern murals, as seen and interpreted by Diego Rivera and Edward Weston.
  • Bryan J. Wolf explains painter Philip Guston’s stylistic shift by drawing analogies to Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus.
  • Harmon Siegel shows African American sculptor Melvin Edwards’s ground-breaking installations were themselves commentary on art-world racism.
  • Monica Steinberg details how a mock political campaign by performance-artist Lowell Darling was really a critique of U.S. tax codes for artists.
  • Elizabeth Broun, David Cateforis, and Randall R. Griffey pay tribute to recently retired journal founder Charles C. Eldredge. This kicks off a year of articles marking the 50th anniversary of SAAM’s fellowship program.

The Summer 2017 issue of American Art celebrated the journal’s thirtieth anniversary with thirty invited authors commenting on three themes: Archive, Landscape, and Shifting Terrain. The Summer 2019 issue offered a set of commentaries on the 1933 Exhibition of Works by Negro Artists, held at the Smithsonian in 1933. Contributing authors are Charles Brock, Tobias Wofford, Michèle Gates Moresi, Seth Feman, and John A. Tyson.

Subscribe to American Art

A one-year subscription for individuals costs $50, and provides full online access to all back issues of American Art. Members of Friends of the Smithsonian, Smithsonian National Associates, American Studies Association, and the College Art Association receive subscriptions at the discounted price of $40. The rate for students is $35. Higher rates apply for institutions.

For information on subscribing, purchasing single issues, or submitting articles to the journal, which is published for the museum by the University of Chicago Press, please visit This link also acts as a portal to the electronic edition of the journal.

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American Art invites submissions of original scholarly manuscripts. Acceptance is determined by editorial needs and double-blind peer-review. For more information, see Journal Author Submission Guidelines. Prospective authors are invited to contact executive editor Robin Veder for a consultation.