Plaster sculpture of George Washington
George Washington by Jean-Antoine Houdon / c. 1786, Plaster / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of Joe L. & Barbara B. Albritton and Robert H. & Clarice Smith

America’s Presidents Temporary Installation

March 24, 2017 - September 4, 2017
Second floor

America’s Presidents will be closed from Feb. 27 through March 23, 2017, and again from ­­­­­­­­­­­­Sept. 5 through Sept. 21, 2017 while the the space is refurbished and updated. From March 24 to Sept. 4, 2017 there will be a temporary America's Presidents installation on the second floor. America's Presidents reopens fully on Sept. 22, 2017.

While the regular gallery space is being refurbished and updated, “America’s Presidents” will be temporarily installed in the west gallery on the second floor through Sept. 4. The exhibition will move back into the newly refreshed gallery spaces and reopen Sept. 22.

We are excited to announce that the temporary installation will include “Hindsight is Always 20/20” by contemporary artist Luke DuBois. DuBois has generated “word clouds” with words and phrases from the state of the union addresses of 41 presidents. He then presents them in order of most frequent to least frequent word in the form of an eye chart for each president. The result is a startlingly clear snapshot of the lexicon of each presidency, containing a mix of key words and rhetoric unique to each president and the time period in which they served. The words amplify the story that we tell about the presidents by highlighting how the issues of the day became part of Americans’ political dialogue and vocabulary. The installation will allow us to marry words with images in a way that is both educational and aesthetically appealing.