American Art Journal

A peer-reviewed journal of the nation’s visual heritage

Since its founding in 1987, American Art has been an indispensable resource for scholars, collectors, and museum-goers who want to enrich their understanding of the nation’s art and culture. American Art encompasses all aspects of the country’s visual heritage from colonial to contemporary times. Elegant color plates give the journal a distinctive appearance, and the articles are written in an engaging style.

Call for Papers

In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s fellowship program in 2020, the American Art journal invites contributions on the program’s history and its role in the larger field of American art history.

Current Issue - Fall 2018

The cover of the American Art Journal with a painting of a man with a red background.

Elizabeth Catlett, Watts/Detroit/Washington/Harlem/Newark (detail), 1970. Linocut on paper, 21 5/8 × 34 3/4 in. Studio Museum in Harlem, Gift of the artist, 1972.9.1 © 2018 Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Sasha J. Smith-Mendez

The Fall 2018 issue of American Art includes:

  • Activism in Exile: Elizabeth Catlett’s Mask for Whites, by Dalila Scruggs
  • Summer Camp with William J. Stillman: Looking at Nature, between Ruskin and Emerson, by Karen L. Georgi
  • A “New American Taste”: Walt Kuhn, Modernism, and the Buckeye, by Kathleen Spies
  • “The Thousand and One Little Actions Which Go to Make Up Life”: Civil Rights Photography and the Everyday, by Sara Wood
  • Paired Perspectives on Charles Demuth’s Backdrop of East Lynne, by Erin Pauwels and Jonathan Frederick Walz
  • An Appreciation of Hans Breder (1935–2017), by Joyce Tsai

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.

Access the Journal

Browse all issues of American Art, 1987 to present

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.

Write for American Art

American Art is published in March, July, and November. The journal considers submissions in a variety of formats, including feature-length essays, commentaries, new perspectives, and paired perspectives. For more information, see Journal Author Submission Guidelines.

For information on a publication prize for foreign scholars, resulting in publication in American Art, please see the Terra Foundation for American Art International Essay Prize.