Poster of an African American man against a striped background

Jimi Hendrix / Unidentified Artist / Color photolithographic poster on paper

One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey

June 29, 2018 - May 19, 2019

As part of a series of installations celebrating its golden anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will present “One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey,” a one-room exhibition that looks back at an extraordinarily important and memorable time in American history. The show relies on some thirty portraits to tell the story of 1968, the year when the Vietnam War reached a turning point, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and television sets displayed everything from the Olympic Games to the first manned orbit of the moon. Memorably, it was also the year that the Portrait Gallery first opened its doors. The subjects featured in the exhibition continue to resonate in our collective memory. Representations of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon will share the walls with portraits of cultural figures such as Peggy Fleming, Arthur Ashe, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Depictions of other significant personalities, notably the Apollo 8 astronauts, will round out the exhibition.

This exhibition is curated by Portrait Gallery Historian, James Barber.

  • Three Olympic athletes two with their arms in the air

    Tommie Smith and John Carlos by an Unidentified Artist | 1968, Gelatin silver print | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of David C. Ward

  • Woman in a long dress standing by a white convertible

    Joan Didion by Julian Wasser | 1970, Gelatin silver print | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

  • Two African American men--one wearing a beret

    Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown by James E. Hinton, Jr. | 1968 (printed 2001), Gelatin silver print | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

  • group of young people (hippies) agains a colorful background

    Hippies | by The Group Image | 1967, Tempera and photo collage on board | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of an anonymous donor

  • Two groups of rock musicians

    Rock Groups San Francisco, 1967 | by Irving Penn |  1967 (printed 1974), Platinum-palladium print | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Irving Penn

  • Drawing of an older, haggard man (Lyndon Johnson)

    Johnson as Lear | by David Levine | 1967, Ink and graphite pencil on paper | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine

  • Heads of three men (astronauts) against a black background with the moon behind them

    Astronauts by Hector Garrido | 1968, Watercolor, pencil and tempera on Masonite | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine

  • Jimi Hendrix by an Unidentified Artist | Color photolithographic poster on paper | National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution