The Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection America's first museum of modern art.
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Encounter one of the worlds finest collections of modern and contemporary art in an intimate setting.

03/28/2020

European modernist art has been an important, yet complicated influence on black artists for more than a century. The powerful push and pull of this relationship constitutes a distinct tradition for many African American artists who have mined the narratives of art history, whether to find inspiration, mount a critique, or claim their own space. Riffs and Relations examines these cross-cultural conversations and presents the divergent works that reflect these complex dialogues.

While we don't know anything for sure, we have great hope that we will be able to extend this exhibition so you can see it in person. In the meantime, you can buy the catalogue by emailing [email protected]

03/27/2020

RECKONING WITH PICASSO AND MATISSE:

With notable works that inspire reverence and resistance, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were unquestionably major forces in the development of modernism in Europe and its influence in America. Their provocative images of women were often marked by figural flatness and mask-like facial compositions that referenced African art, associating the black body with something new, mysterious, and unmistakably modern. Picasso exploited the faceted treatment of forms he saw in African art in his efforts to define Cubism—notably through his provocative Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)—while Matisse sought to meld Western and African influences in his use of color, line, and form. Riffs and Relations features nudes by Picasso and Matisse and a sampling of contemporary African American female artists who respond directly to their characterizations of the female body. Some mount spectacular acts of defiance, while others propose their own vision of the female body.

The Phillips Collection's cover photo
03/27/2020

The Phillips Collection's cover photo

03/27/2020

Expatriate artist Henry Ossawa Tanner worked in an Impressionist style in the early 20th century. Also in Paris, mid-century artist Beauford Delaney was so deeply impacted by the brushwork in Claude Monet’s late paintings that he transformed his approach to abstraction. On the other hand, in the 21st century, Titus Kaphar disrupts the romantic notion of the Impressionist landscape to urge us to see what lies beneath its beautiful surfaces. #MuseumFromHome

03/26/2020

When the Impressionist artists first exhibited their work in Paris in 1874, their loose brushwork and focus on modern life was considered radical by the art establishment. But by the 20th century, the visual language of Impressionism had gained practitioners and collectors and had become a beloved style that was essential to the development of modernism. In gallery 5, we feature three African American artists with different relationships to this important and influential movement. #MuseumFromHome

03/26/2020
African Art and Expressionism

Early in the 20th Century, a few African-American artists traveled to Europe to study as they found its art world was more welcoming for a black artist than it was in America. While in France, William H. Johnson became interested in the work of expressionist painter Chaïm Soutine. Here, you see the landscape by Johnson on the right and Soutine on the left: both kaleidoscopic views of Cagnes-Sur-Mer.

03/25/2020

CUBIST LINEAGES:

With Cubism, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso broke free of European tradition, which insisted that art should copy nature. They invented a flattened, geometric style that emphasized the two-dimensionality of the art surface. Their experiments were informed by the fragmented forms found in African art on view in Paris museums like the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro. Their work defined an aesthetic language that evolved in the hands of other artists and spread over time and around the world to become one of the most important and recognizable innovations in 20th-century art.

In New York, the Museum of Modern Art organized major exhibitions such as Cubism and Abstract Art (1936) and Picasso: Forty Year of His Art (1939), allowing Cubism to gain a strong foothold in the United States. In Washington, DC, Museum Founder Duncan Phillips assembled a Braque “unit” of

11 works, drawn to the artist’s personal vision. Influenced by travels in the US and abroad, many African American artists developed their own modernist aesthetic inspired by Cubism and its many derivations.

#museumfromhome

03/24/2020

AFRICAN ART AND MODERNISM: Early in the 20th century, African art, displayed at ethnographic museums in Europe and circulated in publications, came to the attention of artists as source material for new and exciting possibilities. Yet the objects that arrived in Europe by way of colonialism were interpreted mainly through visual cues and without proper context. This set up an uneven power dynamic and a false dichotomy between “civilized” European and “primitive” African cultures. The European fascination with the art of Africans and other non-Western cultures became known as “Modernist Primitivism.”

In the 1920s and 30s, Harlem Renaissance cultural leader Alain Locke advised in The New Negro and other writings that African American artists draw upon European aesthetic models (including Cubism and German Expressionism) indebted to African art. He also encouraged artists to learn more about Africa to help define their modern identity. In their studies, they looked to photographs of African art featured in Locke’s publications and others and attended exhibitions, including the Museum of Modern Art’s 1935 African Negro Art, which encompassed over 600 objects primarily from European and American collections. For many of these artists, engaging with African art sprang from a desire to celebrate their own ancestral culture. Contemporary artists have continued to critically engage with this fraught history.

#museumfromhome

03/24/2020

Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass has been a lightening rod of controversy since it’s premiere in Paris in 1863. Executed in an abrupt style, this outdoor scene of contemporary gathering with a nude female gazing out at the viewer was based on historic compositions by Raphael and Titian. Manet’s approach challenged tradition and the scandalous painting became a catalyst for modern art that continues to inspire critical responses. Riffs and Relations assembles several works that consider Manet’s iconic piece in different ways. By inserting black bodies into the iconic composition, the African-American artists enter into a complex and often confrontational dialogue with Manet in particular and modernism in general.

03/23/2020
Introduction: Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition

Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition, opened on February 29th. We are incredibly proud of this show and hope you’ll be able to see it in person, but because that’s not possible right now, we will be dedicating our feed this week to taking you through the show gallery by gallery.

This virtual tour will be guided by guest curator Dr. Adrienne Childs.
Riffs and Relations explores the rich, multifaceted, and sustained dynamic between African American art and European Modernism. African American artists have interrogated and immersed themselves in European modernist art since its rise to prominence in the early 20th century. This period also saw a critical growth of professional African American artists, many of whom engaged modernist styles and sensibilities as they claimed the power to represent and define themselves, their histories, and their cultures.

The African American and European artists in this exhibition have engaged modernism in different time periods and varied artistic and social contexts. The cross-cultural, international, and intergenerational exchanges assembled here offer a fascinating glimpse into dialogues that have evolved over the 20th and 21st centuries. Fittingly, The Phillips Collection was founded on the idea that works from various moments could be brought together to show enduring relationships that help broaden discussions on art history. These paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper enhance the story of modern and contemporary American art by presenting compelling works born of these riffs and relations.

#museumathome

03/20/2020
Signing the Phillips: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series

Today, one week into #DeafHistoryMonth, we feature #JacobLawrence's epic: The Migration Series.

More than 75 years ago, a young artist named Jacob Lawrence set to work on an ambitious 60-panel series portraying the Great Migration, the flight of over a million African Americans from the rural South to the industrial North following the outbreak of World War I.
Lawrence found a way to tell his own story through the power and vibrancy of the painted image, weaving together 60 same-sized panels into one grand epic statement. The poetry of his work emerges from its staccato-like rhythms and repetitive symbols. “To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty.” #SigningthePhillips, produced in partnership with Gallaudet University graduates JamiLee Hoglind and Erikson Young, is a vlog series inspired by the Whitney Museum of American Art's "The Vlog Project". Through this initial series of 5 ASL vlogs, The Phillips Collection aims to increase accessibility to some of the defining works in our collection.

Your "what day is it?" moment of Zen. If only Facebook had a scratch and sniff feature. The Laib Wax Room, lined with fr...
03/18/2020

Your "what day is it?" moment of Zen. If only Facebook had a scratch and sniff feature. The Laib Wax Room, lined with fragrant beeswax and illuminated by a single bare light bulb, is the first permanently installed artwork at the Phillips since the Rothko Room in 1960.
To install the work, Where have you gone – where are you going?, Laib melted approximately 440 pounds of beeswax at a constant temperature to achieve a uniform golden hue. He used tools such as a spatula, spackle knife, electric heat gun, and warm iron to apply the wax on the walls and ceiling of the 6-by-7-by-10-foot space.

For Laib, The Phillips Collection was a logical choice for the work because of its intimate, experiential character. Laib visited the Rothko Room for the first time in October 2011, and it left a profound impression. “A wax chamber has a very deep and open relationship to Rothko’s paintings,” he explains. To enter a wax room, Laib says, is to be “in another world, maybe on another planet and in another body.” 📸 Lee Stalsworth

Moira Dryer infused her works with stillness and animation, reference and abstraction, and real and represented space.We...
03/17/2020

Moira Dryer infused her works with stillness and animation, reference and abstraction, and real and represented space.

We invite you to look deeply into her work, be still, and breathe.

📸 Annie Lipscombe

With their calm and stable geometry, the squares-within-squares in Josef Albers's Homage to the Square: Temprano float i...
03/16/2020

With their calm and stable geometry, the squares-within-squares in Josef Albers's Homage to the Square: Temprano float in vibrant space, their sparse perfection inviting meditation on the psychology of perception, visual experience, and ultimately the interaction between the work of art and its viewer. Throughout his career, Albers focused his art on creating geometric patterns and color variations. Through many years of observation and experimentation he discovered that color alone, when liberated of a descriptive role, can suggest form, light, and pictorial space.

Our museum was founded on the principle that art can inspire peace and calm. We will continue to bring you works we hope will bring you a sense of wellness during these trying times.

🎨 Josef Albers, Homage to the Square: Temprano, 1957, Oil on canvas.

The Phillips Collection will be closed to the public starting Saturday, March 14.The health and wellbeing of our communi...
03/13/2020

The Phillips Collection will be closed to the public starting Saturday, March 14.
The health and wellbeing of our community, visitors, and employees, is a top priority for the Phillips Collection. For this reason, as a health precaution, both our locations at 21st Street and [email protected] will be closed to the public starting Saturday, March 14- through Friday, April 3. We will continue to monitor and reassess future event plans on an ongoing basis as the situation continues to develop. If you have already purchased tickets for an upcoming event, refunds are available upon request by emailing [email protected].
To the extent possible, we will be offering programming online through our website and social media channels. All updates will be communicated via email, social media channels, and posted on our website.
We appreciate your understanding as we all navigate this rapidly evolving situation. The Phillips was founded on the principles of the deep connection between art and wellness, and has prided itself as a place of inspiration, contemplation and community gathering. We hope to be able to open our doors again soon, and welcome you back to continue this tradition.

Exploring the complicated influences of European modernists on African American artists active in the 20th and 21st cent...
03/11/2020
The Year Ahead in African American Art: What to See and Do in 2020

Exploring the complicated influences of European modernists on African American artists active in the 20th and 21st centuries, this show brings together works by more than 50 artists including William H. Johnson, Pablo Picasso, Romare Bearden, Bob Thompson, Felrath Hines, Henri Matisse, Sam Middleton, Carrie Mae Weems, Ellen Gallagher, Winold Reiss, Vincent van Gogh, Mickalene Thomas, John Edmonds, and Hank Willis Thomas. Curated by Adrienne Childs, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.

The Year Ahead in African American Art: What to See and Do in 2020 by Victoria L. Valentine in Culture Type http://bit.ly/2PDMKBV

  THE YEAR IN BLACK ART is off to a fascinating start. In January, Helen Molesworth organized a Noah Davis (1983-2015) exhibition at David Zwirner gallery in New York, a rare look at more tha...

On view in 2021: #JacobLawrence's Struggle Series. Read more about it via @Forbes: http://bit.ly/2wnJZ0I
03/10/2020

On view in 2021: #JacobLawrence's Struggle Series. Read more about it via @Forbes: http://bit.ly/2wnJZ0I

Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass has been a lightening rod of controversy since it’s premiere in Paris in 1863. Exe...
03/09/2020

Édouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass has been a lightening rod of controversy since it’s premiere in Paris in 1863. Executed in an abrupt style, this outdoor scene of contemporary gathering with a nude female gazing out at the viewer was based on historic compositions by Raphael and Titian. Manet’s approach challenged tradition and the scandalous painting became a catalyst for modern art that continues to inspire critical responses. Riffs and Relations assembles several works that consider Manet’s iconic piece in different ways. By inserting black bodies into the iconic composition, the African-American artists enter into a complex and often confrontational dialogue with Manet in particular and modernism in general. @ The Phillips Collection

#AboutLastNight: a tour de force performance yesterday at the Phillips by Ensemble Dal Niente, featuring music by the am...
03/02/2020

#AboutLastNight: a tour de force performance yesterday at the Phillips by Ensemble Dal Niente, featuring music by the amazing #GeorgeLewis and fellow composers Andile Khumalo and Akiko Yamane. Presented in partnership with @theclariceumd. 🎼 🎻🎷 Interested in Sunday Concerts at the Phillips? Set your alarm! Tickets go on sale at 10am on the first of every month and they sell out FAST—like ten minutes fast. 🎟🎟🎟 #phillipsmusic 📷 Travis Houze

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1600 21st St NW
Washington D.C., DC
20009

Metro Red Line, Dupont Circle Station (Q Street exit) and via several bus lines. Plan your trip at http://www.wmata.com

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 10:00 - 20:30
Friday 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday 10:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 19:00

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(202) 387-2151

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