Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery SAAM and its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery, celebrate the extraordinary creativity of artists whose works reflect the American experience.
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The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation's first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience from the colonial period to today. The Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features one of the finest collections of American craft in the United States. Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our post

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“Time itself cannot be made, but if time is a medium, what can be made present with it? Can it be stretched and compress...
12/31/2023

“Time itself cannot be made, but if time is a medium, what can be made present with it? Can it be stretched and compressed like clay? Can it be turned like wood, carved like stone, bent like glass, or woven like twine? If we use time to make new forms, perhaps those forms can help us tell stories that have previously gone untold.” —Alicia Eggert

Renwick Gallery installation images of Alicia Eggert, “This Present Moment,” 2019-2020, neon, custom controller, steel, 144 x 180 x 48 in., photos by Albert Ting

Evening plans? 📖Image:Martha Ryther, “Reading in Bed,” 1943, oil on glass
12/30/2023

Evening plans? 📖

Image:
Martha Ryther, “Reading in Bed,” 1943, oil on glass

A fireplace for your phone—complete with sleepy pups.Smithsonian museums are closed today, December 25th. SAAM and the R...
12/25/2023

A fireplace for your phone—complete with sleepy pups.

Smithsonian museums are closed today, December 25th. SAAM and the Renwick Gallery will be open tomorrow, December 26th.

SAAM: 11:30 am‑7:00 pm
Renwick Gallery: 10:00 am‑5:30 pm

Image:
J. Alden Weir, “Dogs on the Hearth no. 1,” 1887, etching on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum

✨SAAM and the Renwick Gallery are open today, December 24th. All Smithsonian museums are closed on December 25th.SAAM: 1...
12/24/2023



SAAM and the Renwick Gallery are open today, December 24th. All Smithsonian museums are closed on December 25th.

SAAM: 11:30 am‑7:00 pm
Renwick Gallery: 10:00 am‑5:30 pm

Waking up from a Saturday afternoon cat nap.   Image:Hobson Pittman, “Awakening Maltese,” n.d., linoleum cut on paper, S...
12/23/2023

Waking up from a Saturday afternoon cat nap.


Image:
Hobson Pittman, “Awakening Maltese,” n.d., linoleum cut on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum

What it feels like to travel this week. 🚆 ✈️ 🌠The repeated shapes and blurred colors in “Train in Motion” express a sens...
12/22/2023

What it feels like to travel this week. 🚆 ✈️ 🌠

The repeated shapes and blurred colors in “Train in Motion” express a sense of movement, as if we are watching the landscape sweep past the window of a speeding train. The bright colors and fragmented shapes appear like a kaleidoscope, suggesting that this image is just one of an infinite number of possibilities.

Sending everyone safe and stress-free holiday travel wishes!

Image:
Hugo Robus, “Train in Motion,” ca. 1920, oil on canvas mounted on fiberglass, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Happy first day of Winter! Marking the winter solstice with this woodcut by artist Ansei Uchima as we look forward to lo...
12/21/2023

Happy first day of Winter! Marking the winter solstice with this woodcut by artist Ansei Uchima as we look forward to longer days.

Image:
Ansei Uchima, "Winter Vista," n.d., color woodcut, Smithsonian American Art Museum

SAAM remembers Richard Hunt, who died on December 16, 2023. For nearly five decades, Hunt ranked among the foremost Amer...
12/21/2023

SAAM remembers Richard Hunt, who died on December 16, 2023. For nearly five decades, Hunt ranked among the foremost American sculptors. His abstract creations, executed in welded and cast steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze, make frequent reference to plant, human, and animal forms. Hunt self-identified as a "Midwestern sculptor," and he remained famously committed to his hometown of Chicago, where he made his life and career.

Head curator Randy Griffey on the influential sculptor Richard Hunt who died December 16, 2023.

Born in 1923, Miriam Schapiro was a groundbreaking feminist artist whose works addressed the role of women in society. S...
12/15/2023

Born in 1923, Miriam Schapiro was a groundbreaking feminist artist whose works addressed the role of women in society. She was perhaps best known for her collaborative project, Womanhouse, an interactive art installation created in an abandoned house in Hollywood that critiqued the misogyny of everyday life.

The comic, “Becoming Miriam Schapiro” drawn by Sky Chandler, a student-illustrator from the Ringling College of Art and Design, follows Schapiro’s life from childhood in Canada and Brooklyn to her groundbreaking artwork and important legacy.

Celebrating the art and life of artist Miriam Schapiro

Caturday mood: deciding which cat will be more chill about being draped over your shoulders.Image:Will Barnet, “Woman an...
12/09/2023

Caturday mood: deciding which cat will be more chill about being draped over your shoulders.

Image:
Will Barnet, “Woman and Cats,” 1962, color woodcut on paper, image: 22 7⁄8 x 24 1⁄2 in. (58.1 x 62.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum

Make a pit stop to appreciate a selection of peachy artworks from SAAM’s collection. Images:Unidentified (American), “Vi...
12/07/2023

Make a pit stop to appreciate a selection of peachy artworks from SAAM’s collection.

Images:
Unidentified (American), “Virginia Star,” ca. 1876-1900, cotton and wool
Robert Dane, “Tutti Frutti Goblet (peach top; blue base),” 2006, glass
Mary Vaux Walcott, “Menziesea (Menziesea glabella),” 1907, watercolor on paper
Margie Jervis, Susie Krasnican, “Pink Gesture,” 1980, sandblasted glass
Gene Davis, “Peach Glow,” 1958, oil on canvas

In the mid-1960s, Alma Thomas created a painting style distinctly her own, characterized by the dazzling interplay of pa...
12/07/2023

In the mid-1960s, Alma Thomas created a painting style distinctly her own, characterized by the dazzling interplay of pattern and vibrant color. Thomas once stated, “Art could be anything. It could be behavior—as long as it’s beautiful.”

In her work, color can be symbolic and multisensory, evoking sound, motion, temperature, even scent. Her abiding source of inspiration was nature—whether seen through her kitchen window or from outer space.

The exhibition “Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas” provides an intimate view of Alma Thomas’ evolving artistic practices during her most prolific period from 1959 to her death in 1978.

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, take a moment to le...
12/04/2023

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, take a moment to learn about some of the fish, wildlife, and plants that make their homes in the ecosystems and habitats depicted by artists like Albert Bierstadt, De Lancey Gill, Winslow Homer, Myrna Báez, and Chiura Obata.

A look at landscapes in SAAM's collection and the the wildlife that lives beyond the paintings

What do album covers for the Talking Heads and R.E.M. have in common with a triptych depicting the Bible’s Book of Revel...
12/02/2023

What do album covers for the Talking Heads and R.E.M. have in common with a triptych depicting the Bible’s Book of Revelation? Howard Finster!

Born on December 2, 1916, the visual artist, musician, storyteller, and preacher’s wide body of work included artwork for both bands as well as a series of biblical paintings, now in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection. His own album, “Man of Many Voices,” is in the collection of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution.

Take a look into the visual art and musical legacy of Howard Finster

Visually stunning. Complex. Full of mysteries. James Hampton’s “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millenniu...
11/28/2023

Visually stunning. Complex. Full of mysteries. James Hampton’s “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly” is all these things and more. Created from everyday found objects and repurposed materials such as metallic foils and old lightbulbs, each element has unique qualities. While caring for the work, Smithsonian American Art Museum’s conservators and registrars gain new insight with each examination.

Bring James Hampton”s “Throne of the Third Heaven” to light with your Giving Tuesday gift.

The sculpture is monumental in size, yet only about a third of its components are currently on view. Through new study of the unexhibited elements, SAAM’s conservators and registrars are able to get a firsthand look at Hampton’s working methods and better understanding of his pieces beyond what can be seen with the naked eye.

Help us reach our $15,000 goal! Your Giving Tuesday gift to SAAM will support continued cataloguing, conservation, and study to bring more of the “Throne of the Third Heaven” to light.

“Every day I am surprised by what I find, whether it be repurposed paperboard with glimpses of printed cartoons and maps, or even Hampton’s own fingerprints.” —Katya Zinsli, Lunder Conservation Fellow, SAAM

https://americanart.si.edu/donate/throne

Images
1: Katya Zinsli working on cleaning a component of James Hampton’s Throne of the Third Heaven. Photo by Anna Nielsen
2: James Hampton, “The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly,” ca. 1950-1964, mixed media

Sweet sleepy cat for a perfectly lazy Caturday following a hectic holiday. Image: William Zorach, “Sleeping Cat with Lon...
11/25/2023

Sweet sleepy cat for a perfectly lazy Caturday following a hectic holiday.

Image: William Zorach, “Sleeping Cat with Long Tail,” 1935, painted plaster

Marvin Oliver created this glass basket to resemble the open-weave clam baskets made by the Salish peoples of the Pacifi...
11/24/2023

Marvin Oliver created this glass basket to resemble the open-weave clam baskets made by the Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The open form allows sand and water to pass through while retaining the clams. Oliver, from the Quinault Indian Nation of Washington state, incorporated Northwest Coast designs into his art, which ranged from carving and sculpting to glass and printmaking. Staying true to the original basket form, he nestled clear and opaque glass clams in the bottom. Likewise, Oliver paid tribute to the basket artists of the region by adding a glass etching of a Salish woman with her baskets.

Image: Marvin Oliver, “Salish Clam Basket,” 2008, glass, basket

These precious performing pups can’t decide if they prefer watching the parade or the dog show for their favorite Thanks...
11/23/2023

These precious performing pups can’t decide if they prefer watching the parade or the dog show for their favorite Thanksgiving Day tradition.

Image:
Lawrence W. Ladd, “Trained Dogs,” ca. 1880, watercolor on paper, sheet

That moment when……she says something funny…the kids suddenly stop talking…people gather in front of the same painting…he...
11/22/2023

That moment when…

…she says something funny

…the kids suddenly stop talking

…people gather in front of the same painting

…he notices something new

…they show you their favorite

…you run into an old friend

Spend some time at SAAM and the Renwick Gallery this holiday season: Smithsonian museums are open every day (closed December 25).
SAAM: 11:30 am to 7 pm
Renwick Gallery: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm

Photos by Albert Ting.

Artworks by renowned Native artist Joe Feddersen (Okanagan/Arrow Lakes) are inspired by the ever-important, ever-connect...
11/21/2023

Artworks by renowned Native artist Joe Feddersen (Okanagan/Arrow Lakes) are inspired by the ever-important, ever-connected relationship between people and nature. Mindfulness in consumption is particularly timely as issues surrounding climate and resources continue to be at the forefront of many conversations these days.

Drawing inspiration from traditional methods of collecting natural resources, artist Joe Feddersen serves as a voice for the Plateau peoples

11/16/2023

“I think the world would be a better place if everybody made some sort of art.”

Meet artist Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee). Go into her studio for a meditation on her creative process. WalkingStick discusses her inspiration, the role of place in her work, and how she finds the divine through the act of painting.

Through her research, artwork, and photography, Wendy Red Star reassesses misconceptions around Native identity from a d...
11/16/2023

Through her research, artwork, and photography, Wendy Red Star reassesses misconceptions around Native identity from a distinctly feminist, Indigenous perspective. In the comic about her life and work that SAAM recently published as part of the series Drawn to Art: Tales of Inspiring Women Artists, “Wendy Red Star: Crow-Centric” pays tribute to the artist’s ancestry and practice right from the start.

Celebrating the renowned artist whose work questions misconceptions around Native identity

“I’m compelled how an object that is in some ways so humble and simple can have so much meaning and power.”Artist Marie ...
11/11/2023

“I’m compelled how an object that is in some ways so humble and simple can have so much meaning and power.”

Artist Marie Watt honors veterans and Indigenous communities through simple objects that hold powerful stories.

Marie Watt honors veterans and Indigenous communities through simple objects that hold powerful stories

Tlingit sisters Lily Hope and Ursala Hudson were trained in Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving by their mother, renowned wea...
11/10/2023

Tlingit sisters Lily Hope and Ursala Hudson were trained in Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving by their mother, renowned weaver Clarissa Rizal (1956–2016). To the untrained eye, Ravenstail and Chilkat weavings may appear similar, but the techniques can be distinguished by design: Chilkat weavings typically feature curving formline shapes, while Ravenstail weavings employ geometric designs. Lily Hope and Ursala Hudson’s weavings reflect clan relationships, gendered labor, and the Tlingit values of reciprocity and balance.

An in-depth look at Lily Hope and Ursala Hudson’s work and the traditions behind Chilkat weavings

“I really like inviting people to think about the blankets in our lives. I'm compelled by how an object that in some way...
11/03/2023

“I really like inviting people to think about the blankets in our lives. I'm compelled by how an object that in some ways is so humble and simple can have so much meaning and power.” — Marie Watt (Seneca)

Explore Marie Watt’s artistic journey through unconventional materials and textiles. In this video she discusses how her work “Edson’s Flag” honors veterans, her family, and her Native culture. Learn how her artistic focus turned to blankets, which she sees as humble and simple objects that are imprinted with the powerful stories of our lives.

https://youtu.be/_VtCW1Aa7ds?si=AHToyfwUC5JIT6LU

Explore Marie Watt’s artistic journey through unconventional materials and textiles. In this video she discusses how her work “Edson’s Flag” honors veterans,...

11/02/2023
“Art speaks of who we are at our very best. And you go into a museum and you can see that over and over again, that divi...
11/02/2023

“Art speaks of who we are at our very best. And you go into a museum and you can see that over and over again, that divine spark, that humanness, that heart.”
—Kay WalkingStick (Cherokee Nation)

Kay WalkingStick, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, first began exhibiting in the late 1960s and is still creating new artworks today. She is celebrated for her powerful landscape paintings, which imbue depictions of place with spiritual significance and cultural memory. A trailblazer in American art, WalkingStick describes this painting as a joyful expression of female self-determination and sensuality. Produced amid the women’s movement and the sexual revolution of the 1970s, it offers a response to the long history of male artists depicting the female form.

How easily can you find the two women of the title? The painting’s eye-popping hues and flat, geometric shapes create playful confusion between the figures and the background.

Image:
Kay WalkingStick, “Two Women II,” 1973, acrylic on canvas, overall: 42 3⁄8 × 44 1⁄8 in. (107.6 × 112.1 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum

Fiber artist and weaver Consuelo Jimenez Underwood was born in 1949 to a Chicana mother and Huichol father in Sacramento...
10/13/2023

Fiber artist and weaver Consuelo Jimenez Underwood was born in 1949 to a Chicana mother and Huichol father in Sacramento, California. Her father made a frame loom and wove dresses for her. She learned how to crochet from her mother, and from that very first moment she lifted a needle and thread she was hooked. In fact, she likened it to a mystical experience.
Catherine Vo, a student-illustrator from the Ringling College of Art and Design, conjures magic in her telling of Underwood’s story, “Born to Weave.” Read this free comic online and wrap yourself in the story of Consuelo Jimenez Underwood.

Celebrating the renowned textile artist with a comic about her life and work

Exploring history, politics, and culture with Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano by taking a closer look at his “Pa-lan-...
10/10/2023

Exploring history, politics, and culture with Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano by taking a closer look at his “Pa-lan-te” (2017) and “Double Phantom/EntroP.R.” (2017).

Exploring history, politics, and culture with Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano

“The important thing is for us to create, to give form to what we have inside us,” Alma Thomas once reflected.
10/02/2023

“The important thing is for us to create, to give form to what we have inside us,” Alma Thomas once reflected.

After a career as a schoolteacher, the Washington, D.C.-based painter flourished, creating vibrant patterns inspired by nature, the cosmos and music

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