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Fact Sheet: “One Life: Sylvia Plath”

February 7, 2017

Exhibition
“One Life: Sylvia Plath”
June 30 through May 20, 2018

Where
Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery
Eighth and F streets N.W.

Summary
“One Life: Sylvia Plath” is the first exploration of the poet and writer’s visual imagination in an art museum. The exhibition reveals how Plath shaped her identity as she came of age as a writer in the 1950s and early 1960s. Visitors will get a look into Plath’s personal life and her savvy understanding of visual media. Through personal letters, self-portraits, family photographs and relevant objects, the exhibition highlights Plath’s struggle to understand the traumas in her life—the early death of her father, psychiatric breakdown in college and collapse of her marriage—and to navigate the societal pressures placed on women as she made her way in the professional world.

The exhibition features a carefully selected array of images and objects from the Plath archives at Smith College, the Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington and private collections. . Dorothy Moss, associate curator of painting and sculpture at the Portrait Gallery, is curator for the exhibition, joined by guest co-curator Karen Kukil, associate curator of rare books and manuscripts at Smith College.

The National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through 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 N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Website: npg.si.edu. Connect with the museum at Facebook, Instagram, blog, Twitter and YouTube.

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