Visit the Exhibition

"American Cool" runs at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery February 7 through September 7, 2014. The exhibition includes five film and music clips for visitors to play. In addition, music, created by ten of the jazz, blues and rock-and-roll artists in the show, will be playing in the galleries. Public programs include curator-led tours scheduled Feb. 8 at 12:00 p.m. and March 8 at 2:00 p.m.

“American Cool” is accompanied by a fully illustrated 192-page catalog of the same title, published by Delmonico Books, with essays by the exhibition curators Joel Dinerstein and Frank H. Goodyear III ($49.95).

Joel Dinerstein is the James H. Clark Endowed Chair in American Civilization and director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University. Frank H. Goodyear III is co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and former curator of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery.


"American Cool" has been made possible by the generous support of HISTORY®.

Additional support provided by:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Jack H. Watson, Jr.
  • Peter and Rhondda Grant
The National Portrait Gallery would also like to thank the following donors who have sponsored a portrait in "American Cool"

James Brown  —  James Brown Family Foundation, JBFPAC NY, Shawn and Deanna Brown Thomas
James Dean  —  William Bast and Paul Huson
Woody Guthrie  —  Woody Guthrie Center – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Billie Holiday  —  Stephen and Deborah Smith
Bruce Lee  —  Bruce Lee Foundation

Collaborative support provided by Destination DC


Who is on your cool list?
Who is not?
Let us know what you think.


If you would like to learn more about the evolution and definition of cool, purchase American Cool by Joel Dinerstein and Frank H. Goodyear, III.
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