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 - Summer 2020

A magazine cover for American Art Journal

Cover: David Driskell, Dancing Angel (detail), 1974. Oil, fabric, and collage on canvas, 60 x 40 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Cynthia Shoats and museum purchase, 2004.27. Artwork © 1974, David C. Driskell. Image courtesy of the Estate of David C. Driskell

In the Summer 2020 issue of American Art:

  • Statement from the Secretary of the Smithsonian.
  • Emilie Boone shows how the circulation of James Van Der Zee’s photographs embodied UNIA’s Pan-African goals.
  • Sascha T. Scott demonstrates how to decolonialize art history via Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings for the Dole Pineapple Company.
  • Kimia R. Shahi ties late nineteenth-century financial precarity to the material instability of watercolor paintings.
  • Bradford R. Collins draws on literature to illuminate the spinster in American Gothic.
  • Appreciation of Joshua C. Taylor (1917–81) by Roberta K. Tarbell.
  • In Memoriam: The journal’s front and back covers honor the late artist-curator-collector-scholar-activist extraordinare David C. Driskell (1931--2020), a victim of COVID-19

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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Write for American Art

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.