Live performance of “Birthright” by artist Maren Hassinger

WHEN:          Saturday, June 25,  2–3 p.m.

WHERE:       Great Hall of Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery / Eighth and G streets N.W.

WHO:            Maren Hassinger                      

On June 25, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will premiere “Birthright” (2022), a new performance work by the New York City-based artist Maren Hassinger. She will explore the complexity of individual family histories through collective ritual in a live performance based on her 2005 video work of the same name. At the event, Hassinger will screen her 12-minute video, which documents the artist meeting her uncle for the first time and learning about the paternal branch of her family tree. After the screening of “Birthright” (2005), the artist will invite audience members to share family stories and twist newspaper, a meditative ritual she performs throughout the video. An ASL interpreter will be present.

The performance, which was rescheduled from the summer of 2020 due to the global pandemic, is the latest commission in the museum’s “IDENTIFY” series dedicated to performance art. “Birthright” is now part of the museum’s collection and is curated by Charlotte Ickes, curator of time-based media art and special projects.

All performances are free and open to the public. Members of the public who are planning to attend are encouraged, but not required, to register online.  Media interested in attending should contact Gabbie Obusek at



National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning 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 nation’s story.                    

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at and on Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube.  

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