What's On

View of "American Cool" exhibition

Past Exhibitions

  • Lee Surrendering to Grant at Appomattox / By Alonzo Chappel (1828 - 1887) / c. 1870 / Oil on paperboard / Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of Nancy L. Ross in memory of Patricia Firestone Chatham

    One Life: Grant and Lee: “It is well that war is so terrible. . .”

    July 4, 2014 - May 5, 2015

    This special installation of “One Life” considered two lives that were intertwined during the Civil War. The rivalry between generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee was one of the most memorable in American military history.

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  • Sir Charles, Alias Willie Harris / By Barkley Hendricks (born 1945) / Oil on canvas, 1972 / National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; William C. Whitney Foundation

    Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction

    April 18, 2014 - January 11, 2015

    Against the background of a post–World War II cultural resurgence in music, poetry, theater, and film—as well as Cold War paranoia and the growing activism regarding civil rights, the Vietnam War, feminism, and other movements—midcentury artists challenged the stereotype of homogenous American life by reassessing the individual.

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  • Balck and white portrait of a man in a blond wig with a paintbrush at his face.

    Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits

    Exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery from May 2, 2014 - November 2, 2014

    During a career that spanned six decades, photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908–2002) created iconic portraits of many of the twentieth century’s most influential men and women—from fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics, and the arts.

    This exhibition is fully booked.

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  • "Out of Many, One" by Jorge Rodríguez- Gerada

    "Out of Many, One" by Jorge Rodriquez-Gerada

    October 4, 2014 - October 31, 2014
    The National Mall

    A grand landscape portrait from Cuban American urban artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada was placed temporarily on the National Mall from October 1 through October 31, 2014.

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  • Kurt Cobain 1967–1994 Mark Seliger (born 1959)  Platinum palladium print, 1993, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution 			Courtesy of Mark Seliger / Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

    American Cool

    February 7, 2014 - September 7, 2014

    What do we mean when we say someone is cool? To be cool means to exude the aura of something new and uncontainable. Cool is the opposite of innocence or virtue. Someone cool has a charismatic edge and a dark side. Cool is an earned form of individuality.

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  • Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

    Dancing the Dream

    October 4, 2013 - July 13, 2014

    “Dancing the Dream” tells the stories of performers, choreographers, and impresarios who harnessed America’s diversity and dynamism into dance styles that defined the national experience:

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  • Martin Luther King Jr. shortly after his release from Reidsville Penitentiary, Georgia Jack Lewis Hiller (born 1930) Gelatin silver print, 1960

    One Life: Martin Luther King, Jr.

    June 28, 2013 - June 1, 2014

    This exhibition marked the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s stirring “I Have a Dream ” speech.

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