Note to editors: Upon request, select high-resolution images are available for publicity. Additional information is available via the museum’s online press room: http://npg.si.edu/about-us/press-room. All of the museum’s programming for late 2019 is subject to change. To ensure accuracy, contact the National Portrait Gallery’s press office before publishing the information provided in this schedule.
Celebrate: Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday
Aug. 23–Sept. 23, 2018
Aug. 25 marks the 100th birthday of the late American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer and pianist Leonard Bernstein. The National Portrait Gallery will recognize the anniversary by displaying a portrait of Bernstein—a promised gift to the museum—from Aug. 23 through Sept. 23 in the Portrait Gallery’s “Celebrate” space, part of the first-floor north gallery.
Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today
Nov. 2, 2018–Aug. 18, 2019
Drawing primarily from the National Portrait Gallery’s vast collection of self-portraits, this exhibition will explore how American artists have chosen to portray themselves since the beginning of the last century. As people are confronted each day with “selfies” via social media and as they continue to examine the fluidity of contemporary identity, this is an opportune time to reassess the significance of self-portraiture in relation to the country’s history and culture. The exhibition will feature more than 75 works by artists such as Josef Albers, Patricia Cronin, Imogen Cunningham, Elaine de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Joan Jonas, Jacob Lawrence, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Diego Rivera, Lucas Samaras, Fritz Scholder, Roger Shimomura, Shahzia Sikander and Martin Wong. “Eye to I: Self-Portraits from 1900 to Today” is curated by Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, National Portrait Gallery. This exhibition concludes the Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary celebrations, and an expanded, illustrated companion book will be published in spring 2019.
Nov. 16, 2018–Nov. 3, 2019
The Obama portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald were just two of several prized artworks acquired by the National Portrait Gallery during its 50th anniversary. As the Portrait Gallery turns the corner on a new decade of its legacy, the museum will present an exhibition of historic and contemporary works newly acquired for its growing collection. Subjects will include Celia Cruz, Edwin Hubble, Helen Keller, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Louie Pérez, Maurice Sendak, George Walker and Oprah Winfrey. The exhibition will present work by artists including Imogen Cunningham, Harry Gamboa Jr., Brigitte Lacombe, Charles Willson Peale, Shahzia Sikander and Andy Warhol. “Recent Acquisitions” is co-curated by the National Portrait Gallery’s team of curators and historians.
Portraits of the World: Korea
Dec. 14, 2018–Nov. 17, 2019
Pioneering feminist artist Yun Suknam (born 1939) uses portraiture to gain insights into the lives of women, past and present. A wood assemblage portrait of her mother is the centerpiece of this exhibition, which includes portraits of American artists, such as Louise Bourgeois, Louise Nevelson, Marisol, Kiki Smith and Nancy Spero. This presentation focuses on shared themes and artistic approaches that have activated women artists from different parts of the globe. Robyn Asleson, the National Portrait Gallery’s associate curator of prints, drawings and media arts, is the curator of this exhibition. “Portraits of the World: Korea” is the second exhibition in a series dedicated to highlighting the global context of American portraiture and follows the series’ inaugural focus on Switzerland.
Votes for Women: An American Awakening, 1840–1920
Mar. 1, 2019–Jan. 5, 2020
To usher in the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, “Votes for Women: An American Awakening, 1840–1920” reveals the women and organizations often overlooked in the complex narrative of women’s suffrage in the United States. Through portraiture, biography, and material culture, the exhibition examines the contributions of the radical women in antislavery societies; women activists of the late nineteenth century; the “New Woman” of the turn of the century; and the militant suffragists of the 1910s. This presentation also highlights the struggles that minority women endured long after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. The exhibition is curated by Kate C. Lemay, historian and director of Portal, Portrait Gallery’s Scholarly Center, National Portrait Gallery.
May 3, 2019–Mar. 29, 2020
Photographs are often replete with words that remain unheard. “In Mid-Sentence” presents a selection of photographs from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s collection that depict moments of communication: intimate confessions, public speeches, exchanged jokes, political confrontations, lectures and more. Photographs featured in this exhibition encapsulate pivotal moments, such as John F. Kennedy’s televised speech for the 1960 Democratic National Convention or Walter Cronkite’s clandestine 1971 meeting with Daniel Ellsberg at the time of the publication of the “Pentagon Papers.” The exhibition provides the missing script for these otherwise silent voices, granting another means for understanding these interactions by placing them within their socio-historical contexts. An illustrated brochure accompanies the exhibition, and several of the represented speeches are included in an interactive kiosk. The exhibition is curated by Leslie Ureña, associate curator of photographs, National Portrait Gallery.
Storied Women of the Civil War Era
May 24, 2019–May 15, 2022
During the Civil War era, numerous women rose to national prominence—from First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln to the actress and Union spy Pauline Cushman. This intimate exhibition includes portraits of these and other intriguing women who captivated the public while becoming sought-after subjects for Mathew Brady’s camera. Ann Shumard, the National Portrait Gallery’s senior curator of photographs, is the curator of this exhibition.
Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits
June 14, 2019–May 31, 2020
In mid-nineteenth-century America, the growing presence of women in public life coincided with the rise of portrait photography. This exhibition of daguerreotypes and ambrotypes from the 1840s and 1850s features portraits of early feminist icons, women’s rights advocates Margaret Fuller and Lucy Stone, astronomer Maria Mitchell, abolitionist Lucretia Mott and best-selling author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Ann Shumard, the National Portrait Gallery’s senior curator of photographs, is the curator of this exhibition.
One Life: Marian Anderson
June 28, 2019–May 17, 2020
“One Life: Marian Anderson” shifts the attention from Anderson’s historic 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to underexplored moments in the contralto’s career. The exhibition examines the ways artists, concert promoters and others wielded her iconic likeness as a powerful symbol in the pursuit of civil rights. The paintings, photographs, personal effects, and archival materials provide a more nuanced understanding of how Anderson’s many roles, as singer, diplomat, and muse, helped shatter segregationist policies on and off the stage. Leslie Ureña, the National Portrait Gallery’s associate curator of photographs, is the curator of the exhibition.
Special Exhibitions Currently On View
On view through Sept. 3, 2018 The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers
On view through Jan. 6, 2019 UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light: Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar
On view through Mar. 10, 2019 Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now
On view through June 2, 2019 Daguerreotypes: Five Decades of Collecting
June 29, 2018–May 19, 2019 One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey
National Portrait Gallery
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists, whose lives tell the American story.
The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F Streets NW, Washington, DC. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at npg.si.edu, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the museum’s blog.
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