🆗: Edward Ruscha, “O.K.,” 1988, acrylic on canvas
SAAM and its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery, celebrate the extraordinary creativity of artists whose works reflect the American experience.
🆗: Edward Ruscha, “O.K.,” 1988, acrylic on canvas
Counting down to midnight on New Year’s Eve 🎉 🕛
What better way to say farewell to 2020 than with an artwork that is also a clock made out of televisions?
📺 ⏰: Nam June Paik, “T.V. Clock,” 1963/1981 #NewYearsEve
An adventure, a mistake, a lesson, and a hope: one poet‘s trip to a museum is eye-opening in unexpected ways.
A poet's trip to a museum is eye-opening in unexpected ways
Merry Christmas! 🎄
Ernest W. Watson, “Christmas Morning,” 1947, color linoleum cut on paper
From a cozy lamp-lit scene to a lustrous pot that reflects the light to a shimmering, blinking display that never repeats itself, let’s take an art and light-filled break together. ✨🕯️ 💡
View artworks from the collection that illuminate our world
Today is the winter solstice, so let’s welcome the first day of winter with this serene snowy scene. ❄️ ❄️ ❄️
James Bartlett Rich, “Winter Scene in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia,” ca. 1910, gelatin silver print
“Quilts can be very subversive, drawing you in and then shifting the conversation. They’ve been a way for women to gather and have political discourse and get away with it.”
Members of the national Women of Color Quilters Network draw on personal experiences of injustice, turning their needlework into symbols of liberation, resistance and empowerment.
“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”
—Linus Van Pelt
Get a little sappy (and a little sassy) with us as we pair favorite Holiday movies with artworks at SAAM. Share your own favorite holiday movie and American artwork pairings by exploring the museum‘s collection and commenting below.
What is cozier than watching old holiday movies on a chilly winter’s night? Pairing them up with favorite artworks, that’s what.
If you're tired of looking at your walls maybe it's time to deck the halls. SAAM’s resident Craft Master leads you through a simple DIY to add a little festive cheer to your home.
Make an upcycled DIY wreath with just a few simple materials
Two grand landscape paintings, one from the 19th century and another from the 21st, one realistic and another futuristic, present a dialogue “about our use and abuse of the natural world.”
Contemporary artists are using the old style of grand-history painting to shape public opinion and collective identity.
Today, on World AIDS Day, we revisit Curator Saisha Grayson's 2018 blog post. Her words seem especially poignant as we grapple with our current pandemic(s) and the collective actions needed to address them.
In the early years, A Day Without Art encouraged museums to close their doors or shroud their masterpieces to prompt shared reflection on those lost to AIDS. Perhaps this year’s longer closures can be reimagined as not only health precautions, but as extended opportunities to acknowledge the continual, disproportionate losses and suffering that both AIDS and Covid-19 have brought to communities across the United States, and around the world.
A blog post to commemorate World AIDS Day, December 1, reflecting on an artwork in our collection.
Today is #GivingTuesday—a day when people give back to the causes they care most about.
Days like today remind us of the incredible fact that the Smithsonian was founded thanks to a single gift, made with a single purpose: to discover and share knowledge far and wide.
More than 170 years later, you can amplify the impact of that initial investment in the power of knowledge by joining the world's largest museum, education and research center as a Friend of the Smithsonian.
There's no better time to join—in celebration of #GivingTuesday, you can claim the membership that supports knowledge at the lowest rate we offer! Join the Smithsonian at your special #GivingTuesday discounted rate now! » http://go.si.edu/FY21FMDFB1
In the 1960s, activist Chicano artists forged a remarkable history of printmaking that remains vital today. “¡Printing the Revolution! The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now” presents, for the first time, historical civil rights-era prints by Chicano artists alongside works by graphic artists working from the 1980s to today. Many artists came of age during the civil rights, labor, anti-war, feminist and LGBTQ+ movements and channeled the period’s social activism into assertive aesthetic statements that announced a new political and cultural consciousness among people of Mexican descent in the United States. “¡Printing the Revolution!” explores the rise of Chicano graphics within these early social movements and the ways in which Chicanx artists since then have advanced innovative printmaking practices attuned to social justice.
Experience the museum from home with this video preview of our newest exhibition at SAAM. While our museum is closed we will continue to highlight our collections and stories online.
Just a little Thanksgiving feast (for the eyes).
John F. Francis, “Luncheon Still Life,” ca. 1860, oil on canvas
Charles Culver, “Turkey,” n.d., watercolor
Fairfield Porter, “Still Life with Casserole,” 1955, oil on canvas
William H. Johnson, “Still Life with Onions, Jug and Fruit,” ca. 1930-1938, oil on burlap
Elizabeth W. Capron, “Still Life,” ca. 1830-1848, oil on velvet mounted on paper with cotton thread
Marsden Hartley, “Still Life,” 1932-1933, oil on composition board
Helen Searle, “Still Life with Fruit and Champagne,” 1869, oil on canvas mounted on canvas
Fiber artist Bisa Butler is known for creating monumental quilted portraits of Black life and cultural identity with striking originality that share multilayered historical meanings and stories.
Learn more about how Butler’s matrilineal sewing legacy, patrilineal Ghanaian roots, and the AfriCOBRA art movement resonate in her inventive quilting technique in this virtual lecture:
On Friday, November 20, 2020, SAAM presented a virtual lecture featuring fiber artist Bisa Butler.
SAAM and the Renwick Gallery will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23.
Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time, and will share updates on social media and our website, si.edu. Visitors who had reserved timed-entry passes to visit at a future date are being contacted directly. https://s.si.edu/332bgmR
While our spaces are closed, you can always experience the Smithsonian online. Explore millions of pieces from across our collections, plus online exhibitions, videos and more: si.edu/online
We also have free, quality resources from Smithsonian Education for teachers, students and caregivers. These focus on pre-K through 12 education, including low-tech and no-tech options and some Spanish/English learning resources: learninglab.si.edu/distancelearning
“This pandemic has forced us to take a good look at how we are living and at the things we bring into our communities and homes.”
In mid-March when SAAM’s Renwick Gallery closed due to the pandemic, the curators envisaged how we could document the current moment. Guided both by the gallery’s vision of celebrating makers taking both innovative and time-honored approaches to their work, Smithsonian American Art Museum acquired three face masks created by Indigenous women artists in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These accomplished beadwork artists and basket makers utilized diverse materials and artistic techniques onto their protective face coverings.
Adding functional and artistic masks to SAAM’s collection during Covid-19 projects artists’ messages of strength, resilience, and hope.
Birthdays are great for prompting fleeting memories, for thinking through what-ifs, and celebrating those people and moments that have brought smiles and changed lives.
One question I’ve always wanted to ask you—how do you do it? How do you hit on those things that ordinary kids care about, like ice cream cones and gum ball machines, hot dogs and lipstick (at least for some of us)—that feed the longings, fantasies really, that get us through childhood?”
Wayne Thiebaud is an American pop artist known around the world for his iconic paintings of food. SAAM Senior Curator Virginia Mecklenburg shares some of her thoughts about the artist and his work in the form of a letter in honor of his 100th birthday. Read more on the blog:
Reflecting on the artist’s “light and color and joy and humor,” and his nudge to look closer and think harder about the world that surrounds us
Films and video, light installations, television sculptures, and even video games are among the artwork in SAAM’s time-based media collection. With the addition of new works by artist Christine Sun Kim, our curator of time-based media considers how “One Week of Lullabies for Roux (2008)” will expand the way we all think about sound.
Christine Sun Kim Acquisition adds Sound Art to SAAM’s Collection
Filled with food, music, and dancing, Day of the Dead is a rich celebration of the lives of those who have passed before us.
While Mexican American communities have celebrated the Día de los Muertos for hundreds of years in the United States with personal, often religious, ceremonies, there has been an evolution in how the holiday is celebrated today. This change, in addition to a steady rise in awareness of the of the Day of the Dead in the United States, can be traced back to Chicano artists and activists who launched large scale, public events during the holiday seeking to create a new political and cultural consciousness among people of Mexican descent in the United States.
Chicano artists and activists blended cultural and visual traditions to create modern Day of the Dead celebrations in the U.S.
Is that a cat... or a croissant? This cozy kitteh curled up in the shape of a pastry is just the mood for #NationalCatDay
Did you know the “natural coloring” found in many red candies is carmine, derived from the cochineal insect? What does this pigment have in common with a room-sized installation and a Tim Burton classic?
It’s spooky season and we’re watching classic creepy movies and finding a similar mood in artworks from SAAM’s collection.
This October we are re-watching some old, classic creepy movies and finding a similar mood in artworks from the museum’s collection.
Swarovski crystal, quartz, obsidian, onyx, hematite, glittering glass, paper, plexiglass, wood, cement, and lath, converge in a transcendental, labyrinthine large-scale installation that conveys the prowess of the cosmos and contemplates the chaos of nature.
Lauren Fensterstock’s darkly glittering “The totality of time lusters the dusk” is part of the exhibition Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020, also featuring artworks by Timothy Horn, Debora Moore, and Rowland Ricketts. #RenwickGallery
The totality of time lusters the dusk opens to the public with socially distanced precautions on October 16 as part of the exhibition Forces of Nature: Renwick Invitational 2020, also featuring works by Timothy Horn, Debora Moore, and Rowland Ricketts.
“We were interested in thinking about how people engage with nature and that allows them to interpret a world that is often chaotic, often troubling, but allows people to find a sense of attainable beauty in the midst of chaos that allows people to make sense of the world around them.”
Each of the four artists featured in the 2020 Renwick Invitational present a vision and a reason for saying yes.
The 2020 Renwick Invitational offers an inspired vision of nature
What secrets have SAAM conservators uncovered while caring for paintings by Alma Thomas?
Using special tools and techniques, they were able to discover hints about how the artist worked. #BecauseOfHerStory
Through collaborating with a research team from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), NMWA gained vivid new insight into beloved works by Washington, D.C., artistic icon Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891–1978).
“How many of you have ever felt personally victimized by Regina George?“
It's October 3rd, and once again we’re trying to make fetch happen. Tell us, what’s your favorite Mean Girls quote? #MeanGirlsDay
Spend a little time today learning about these nine remarkable women. #HispanicHeritageMonth
Walter Iooss, Jr.’s photograph of Olympic swimmer Dara Torres is in our collection at SAAM. The Cuban American, who began swimming at age seven, won 12 Olympic medals before retiring at age 45.
By Oriana E. Gonzales and Ariana A. Curtis of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Sara Cohen of Because of Her Story
“I’ll take Alexander von Humboldt for $500, Alex.”
Celebrated for his vast knowledge and competitive nature, Ken Jennings is known to millions as a game show champion. He’s also is a fan of Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist whose endless curiosity took him around the world.
Jennings talked to us about why natural curiosity is crucial in a time of online learning, why sharing knowledge is important, and his dream trivia team. ↓
“I’ll take Alexander von Humboldt for $500, Alex.”
Born on this day in 1891, Alma Thomas frequently talked about “watching the leaves and flowers tossing in the wind as though they were singing and dancing.”
Her painting, "Autumn Leaves Fluttering in the Breeze," is also a tribute to the first day of fall and the changing of the seasons.
When naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt traveled to England in 1790, he met a young chemist named James Smithson, the founder of the Smithsonian.
230 years later, Humboldt’s influence continues to shape the Smithsonian.
The 19th-century polymath continues to influence the Institution’s research; a major Smithsonian exhibition explains how and why
SAAM and the Renwick Gallery open today.
Planning a visit? For SAAM, don't forget your free timed-entry pass. Passes are not required for the Renwick Gallery.
Not ready to visit yet? We welcome you to explore SAAM online!
Plan a safe visit:
The Smithsonian American Art Museum displays its collections and presents special exhibitions in two locations in Washington, D.C. Its main building is located at the heart of a vibrant downtown cultural district, while its branch museum for contemporary craft, the Renwick Gallery, is located nine b...
SAAM and the Renwick Gallery welcome you to both of our museums on September 18.
Visitors to SAAM, regardless of age, must have a free, timed-entry pass to enter. Timed passes are not required for the Renwick Gallery.
All the info you need here:
Along with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Portrait Gallery, SAAM and the Renwick Gallery will have reduced days or hours of operation, and visitors will need to reserve timed-entry passes. Find full reopening information at si.edu/visit.
These locations will reopen with new health and safety measures in place, including limiting the number of people in our spaces, social distancing, face coverings, enhanced cleaning and hand-sanitizing stations. We ask all visitors who are sick or feel unwell to please stay home.
On July 24, our National Zoo and the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, reopened to the public. Smithsonian Gardens are open as well. All other Smithsonian museums remain temporarily closed. When we have additional updates, we'll share on social media and on our website.
Learn about visiting our museums and zoo.
800 G St NW
Washington D.C., DC
METRO (American Art): Take the Red, Yellow or Green Line to Galleryplace/Chinatown and use the exit for the galleries METRO (Renwick): The Red, Blue or Orange Line to Farragut North or Farragut West Metro hours, fare information, and maps are available at www.wmata.com. The DC Circulator also serves the museum's Penn Quarter neighborhood. Hours, fare information and maps are available at www.dccirculator.com.
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