National Museum of American History Participates in Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative #BecauseOfHerStory

List of Exhibitions and Displays Opening March 2019 – June 2020

Three National Museum of American History exhibitions opening in 2019 and 2020 are part of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative #BecauseOfHerStory. The initiative is one of the country’s most ambitious undertakings to research, collect, document display and share the compelling story of women. It will deepen our understanding of women’s contributions to the nation and the world. Designed to amplify women’s crucial roles in building and sustaining the nation, the three exhibitions are “All Work and No Pay,” “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage” and “Girlhood! (It’s Complicated).”smithsonian-logo

All Work and No Pay”: Opens March 4, 2019, and Closes February 2020

Break rooms across America hold signs that read: “Your mother doesn’t work here.” The Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s new display “All Work and No Pay: A History of Women’s Invisible Labor” examines just that: the implied expectation that women will take care of the housework. The exhibit, opening March 4, shows that despite making steps forward in the paid labor force, women continued to be responsible for the almost-timeless and undeniably endless unpaid work at home.

Pockets, aprons, housedresses and a variety of other costumes meant for domestic work from colonial America to the 1990s are featured. Objects from various ethnic communities and classes will highlight how women shared similar tasks across race and class despite the complicated dynamics and inequalities between them. Through this display, visitors can see how women have always worked and debate the value and implications of unwaged labor in the home.

SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY LOGO

SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY Logo. (PRNewsFoto/SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY)

Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage”: Opens March 6, 2020/Closes TBD

To mark the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking 19th Amendment that recognized women’s right to vote, the museum will open “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage.” Designed to commemorate women’s achievements in winning suffrage, the exhibit will invite audiences to explore how we celebrate, what we remember, what (and who) has been forgotten or silenced over time and how those exclusions helped create the cracks and fissures in the movement that continue to impact women’s politics and activism. A jewel box approach will display a small group of artifacts in conjunction with graphics and media – an interweaving of the “famous” and the “forgotten.” The most impressive piece, a six-foot oil portrait of Susan B. Anthony, will be the centerpiece of the exhibition. Painted by Sarah J. Eddy in 1900, it depicts an idealized image of Anthony being presented with flowers by young boys and girls on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Other Items from the National American Women Suffrage Association collection (now the League of Women Voters) donated to the Smithsonian between 1919 and 1920 will be featured. Materials related to Adelaide Johnson (sculptor of Portrait Monument in the Capitol), Alice Paul (suffragist and activist who helped secure women’s right to vote) and the National Woman’s Party (NWP), and other suffrage and women’s activism collections are included.

Girlhood! (It’s Complicated)”: Opens June 12, 2020, and Closes Jan 2, 2022, and will travel through SITES

For decades, young women were told that girls were “made of sugar and spice and everything nice.” What we learn from history is that many girls were made of stronger stuff. They changed history. This will be a signature exhibition at the museum and it is designed to travel through the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Through its rich collections and new acquisitions, the museum will explore how girls have been on the front lines of social and cultural change. Girlhood (It’s Complicated) engages in timely conversations about youth movements and women’s history through unexpected stories of girlhood in the United States. With the design inspired by zines, the 5,000 square-foot gallery will have five story sections: Education (Being Schooled), Wellness (Body Talk), Work (Hey, Where is My Girlhood?), Fashion (Girl’s Remix) as well as biographical interactives called “A Girl’s Life.

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. It helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th Streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free.

More information about the initiative is available at https://womenshistory.si.edu.

New-York Historical Society Presents Artwork By Betye Saar in Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean

Exhibition Explores The Enduring Legacy Of Slavery And The Representation Of African American Women

The New-York Historical Society presents Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean, a solo exhibition of work by the key figure of the Black Arts Movement and feminist art movement of the 1960-70s, on view now through May 27, 2019. The exhibition features 22 works created between 1997 and 2017, from the artist’s ongoing series of washboard assemblages utilizing the washboard as a symbol of the unresolved legacy of slavery and oppression that black Americans, particularly black women, continue to face.

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Betye Saar (b. 1926), Supreme Quality, 1998. Mixed media on vintage washboard, metal washtub, wood stand. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Tim Lanterman, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Betye Saar: Keepin’ It Clean, which fuses the historical and collective memory of race and gender in the United States with personal autobiography, joins Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow (September 7, 2018 – March 3, 2019) as part of New-York Historical’s new initiative to address topics of freedom, equality, and civil rights in America. Presented in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, part of the recently inaugurated Center for Women’s History, the exhibition is organized by the Craft &Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles and coordinated at New-York Historical by Wendy N. E. Ikemoto, Ph.D., associate curator of American Art.

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Betye Saar (b. 1926), Liberation, 2011. Mixed media on vintage washboard Collection of Sheila Silber. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

The washboards of Betye Saar’s Keepin’ It Clean series transcend the traditional boundaries of material culture and art to shed light on persistent gender stereotypes,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “The exhibition furthers the efforts we at the New-York Historical Society have made over the past decade and a half to educate the public on the enduring legacy of slavery and African Americans’ struggle for full rights as citizens. Saar’s art accomplishes what we always try to achieve: to challenge conventional wisdom, provoke new thought and action, and ensure that visitors make important connections between the past and the present and are inspired to action.”

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Betye Saar (b. 1926), Dark Times, 2015. Mixed media on vintage washboard, clock. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Robert Wedemeyer

Saar first encountered assemblage with her grandmother in the Depression-era neighborhood of Watts in Los Angeles, where she witnessed Simon Rodia creating his iconic “Watts Towers” from found and recycled objects. Further influenced by the assemblages of Joseph Cornell, Saar began in the 1960s to collect and recycle everyday items featuring racist caricatures. Her breakout piece, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima (1972), re-imagined the well-known “mammy” figure with visual references to the art and iconography of Black Power and the Black Panther Party. In this piece and many others, Saar depicts black women in revolt against enslavement, segregation, and servitude. Continue reading

New-York Historical Society Accepting Applications For 2019-2020 Fellowships

New Fellows Welcomed for the 2018-2019 Academic Year

The New-York Historical Society is now accepting applications for its prestigious fellowship program for the 2019–2020 academic year. Leveraging its rich collections of documents, artifacts, and works of art detailing American history from the perspective of New York City, New-York Historical’s fellowships—open to scholars at various times during their academic careers—provide scholars with material resources and an intellectual community to develop new research and publications that illuminate complex issues of the past.

New-York Historical Society logo

New-York Historical Society logo

The available fellowships include:

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships in Women’s History
The two recipients of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Women’s History should have a strong interest in the fields of women’s and public history. This unusual part-time fellowship introduces young scholars to work outside the academy in public history and may not directly correspond with their dissertation research. They must be currently enrolled students in good standing in a relevant Ph.D. program in the humanities. The Predoctoral Fellows will be in residence part-time at the New-York Historical Society for one academic year, between September 5, 2019, and June 29, 2020, with a stipend of $15,000 per year. This position is not full time and will not receive full benefits.

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
One fellowship for the length of a single academic year is supported by the
National Endowment for the Humanities. The fellowship is available to individuals who have completed their formal professional training and have a strong record of accomplishment within their field. There is no restriction relating to age or academic status of applicants. Foreign nationals are eligible to apply if they have lived in the United States for at least three years immediately preceding the application deadline. The ten-month residency will carry a stipend of $42,000, plus benefits. This fellowship will begin September 5, 2019, and will end June 29, 2020.

Bernard and Irene Schwartz Fellowships
Offered jointly with the
Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at the New School, two Bernard and Irene Schwartz Fellowships are open to scholars who will have completed their Ph.D. in History or American Studies before the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. Fellows will teach one course per semester at Eugene Lang College in addition to conducting focused research in residence at the New-York Historical Society. These fellows carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits. The fellowship will begin September 5, 2019, and will end June 29, 2020.

Helen and Robert Appel Fellowship in History and Technology
The fellowship will be awarded to a candidate who has earned their Ph.D. within the last three to five years. Research projects should be based on the collections of
New-York Historical and explore the impact of technology on history. The fellowship will carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits; it begins September 5, 2019, and lasts through June 29, 2020.

Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship
This fellowship will be awarded to a candidate who has earned their Ph.D. within the last three to five years. Research projects should expand public understanding of New York State history and should include research based on the collections and resources of New-York Historical. This ten-month residency will carry a stipend of $60,000, plus benefits; it begins
September 5, 2019, and lasts through June 29, 2020.

Short-Term Fellowships
A variety of Short-Term Fellowships will be awarded to scholars at any academic level. Fellows will conduct research in the library collections of the
New-York Historical Society for two to four weeks at a time and will receive a stipend of $2,000. These fellowships will begin and end between July 1, 2019, and June 29, 2020.

Fellowship positions at the New-York Historical Society are made possible by an endowment established by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Generous support for fellowships is provided by Bernard Schwartz, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Helen and Robert Appel, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Sid Lapidus, Michael Weisberg, the Lehrman Institute, and Patricia and John Klingenstein. All fellows receive research stipends while in residency, and the Bernard & Irene Schwartz Fellows each teach two courses at Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts during their year as resident scholars. Visit nyhistory.org/library/fellowships for instructions and application checklists for each fellowship. The application deadline for all fellowships is December 31, 2018. Continue reading

Denver Art Museum To Debut First Major U.S. Retrospective Of The House Of Dior

Dior: From Paris to the World will celebrate more than 70 years of the French house’s enduring legacy

Soon to open to the public, The Denver Art Museum (DAM) will be home to the U.S. presentation of Dior: From Paris to the World, an exhibition surveying more than 70 years of the House of Dior’s enduring legacy and its global influence. A selection of more than 200 haute couture dresses, as well as accessories, photographs, original sketches, runway videos, and other archival material, will trace the history of the iconic haute couture fashion house. The DAM’s presentation of Dior: From Paris to the World will be on view in the Anschutz and Martin and McCormick galleries on level two of the Hamilton Building.DAM-logo-horizontal-green

Christian Dior generated a revolution in Paris and around the globe after World War II in 1947 with his New Look collection. Dior, the art gallerist who became a celebrated couturier, completely shed the masculine silhouette that had been established during the war, expressing modern femininity with his debut collection. Dior’s sophisticated designs, featuring soft shoulders, accentuated busts, and nipped waists, drew on his inspirations of art, antiques, fashion illustration and his passion for gardening. The result was elegant feminine contours that brought a breath of fresh air to the fashion world through luxurious swaths of fabrics, revolutionary design, and lavish embroidery. This marked the beginning of an epic movement in fashion history that would eventually lead to Dior successfully becoming the first worldwide couture house.

Christian Dior with models, about 1955. Photo André Gandner. © Clémence Gandner

Christian Dior with models, about 1955. Photo André Gandner. © Clémence Gandner

The museum will mount this major exhibition with loans from the esteemed Dior Héritage Collection, many of which have rarely been seen outside of Europe, with additional loans from major institutions. The chronological presentation, showcasing pivotal themes in the House of Dior’s global history, will focus on how Christian Dior cemented his fashion house’s reputation within a decade and established the house on five continents—Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Dior: From Paris to the World also will highlight how his successors adeptly incorporated their own design aesthetic.

Christian Dior, Bobby suit, Autumn-Winter 1956 Haute Couture collection. Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture Archives.

Christian Dior, Bobby suit, Autumn-Winter 1956 Haute Couture collection. Courtesy of Christian Dior Couture Archives.

Dior: From Paris to the World also will profile its founder, Christian Dior, and subsequent artistic directors, including Yves-Saint Laurent (1958–1960), Marc Bohan (1961–1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989–1996), John Galliano (1997–2011), Raf Simons (2012–2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016–present), who have carried Dior’s vision into the 21st century.

P. Roversi_Gianfranco Ferré_s Robe Hellébore websize

Gianfranco Ferré, Robe Hellébore, Dior Collection Haute Couture, Spring 1995. Photo ©Paolo Roversi/Art + Commerce.

Image 4 - Christian Dior, Bar suit

Christian Dior, Bar suit. Afternoon ensemble in shantung and pleated wool, Haute Couture Spring-Summer 1947, Corolle line. Dior Héritage collection, Paris. ©Laziz Hamani.

Image 5 - Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior

Yves Saint Laurent for Christian Dior, Banco. Haute couture Spring-Summer 1958, Trapèze line. Smock dress in faille with a peony print. Dior Héritage Collection, Paris; Inv. 1998.2. ©Laziz Hamani.

Image 6 - Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Pollock dress

Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, Pollock dress. Long printed faille evening gown. Haute Couture Fall-Winter 1986. Dior Héritage collection, Paris Inv. 2015.450 ©Laziz Hamani.

Continue reading

Frist Art Museum Presents “Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy”

Exhibition of Marriage Ritual Objects from the Italian Renaissance Opens November 16, 2018

The Frist Art Museum presents Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy, an exhibition (organized by Contemporanea Progetti with the Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy) that offers an intimate view of life in the Renaissance through art commissioned to celebrate marriage and family. Drawing on a selection of outstanding marriage chests, panels, and a variety of domestic objects belonging to the Museo Stibbert, the exhibition will be on view in the Frist’s Upper-Level Galleries from November 16, 2018, through February 18, 2019.

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Apollonio di Giovanni di Tomaso (b. 1415/17, Florence; d. 1465, Florence) and Workshop. Panel from a Marriage Chest (cassone) with Story of an Assault on a Maritime City, ca. 1460. Tempera and gold on panel, 17 3/4 x 20 1/2 in. Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy

This exhibition is supported in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Beginning in the late 1300s, cassoni—elaborately painted and gilded marriage chests—were an important part of marriage rituals and among the most prestigious furnishings in the house or palace of the newlyweds. Usually commissioned in pairs and shaped like ancient sarcophagi, the chests were an expression of the family’s wealth and position in society. They were conspicuously paraded through the streets from the bride’s family home to her husband’s home—a clear statement of a new economic and political alliance between elite families—and then later used in the home for seating and storage. Cassoni is considered antecedents to the hope chests popular in America until the middle of the last century.

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Artist unknown (Urbino). Fruit Bowl, 16th century. Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica), 2 3/4 in. height, 4 3/8 in. diameter. Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy

The chests’ function, craftsmanship, and decorative techniques, and the significance and sources of the imagery are at the heart of the exhibition,” says Frist Art Museum curator Trinita Kennedy. “We are excited to present several rare complete cassoni, as well as fragments, which include lavish wood panels that usually depict themes of fidelity and love as well as narrative scenes drawn from history and mythology.”

Displayed alongside the chests is an array of other art objects also made for the home, including devotional paintings, pottery, and textiles.

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Bernardo di Stefano Roselli (?) (b. 1450, Florence; d. 1526, Florence). Panel from a Marriage Chest (cassone) with Trojan Horse Scene, ca. 1470. Tempera and gold on panel, 19 1/4 x 50 3/8 in. Collection of Museo Stibbert, Florence, Italy

Public Programs

Friday, November 16, 6:30 p.m., Frist Art Museum Auditorium, Free

Opening Night Lecture for Life, Love & Marriage Chests in Renaissance Italy: Art, Marriage, and Family in the Florentine Renaissance Palace, presented by Jacqueline Marie Musacchio. Continue reading

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Receives Matthew Shepard Collection

Judy and Dennis Shepard Donate Historic Collection 20 Years After Their Son’s Murder

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will receive a donation of papers and personal objects from the parents of Matthew Shepard, a young, gay college student who died of severe injuries following a vicious attack in October 1998 when he was a student at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.nmah-header-logo

Judy and Dennis Shepard will donate papers, photographs, and notebooks representing the everyday life of their son from elementary school through college, as a participant in local theater productions and as an international traveler. The collection also will include condolence cards and correspondence the Shepards received following his death. In addition to the archival materials, a number of objects will serve as a poignant reminder of Shepard’s life as an average American boy: a child-sized Superman cape, sandals, a purple ribbon award he received at school and a wedding ring he purchased in anticipation of one day meeting his soulmate.

Twenty years is a long time in human years but only a blink in history. Yet it seems like only a moment ago that the country was shocked by the brutal killing of Matt Shepard,” said Katherine Ott, curator at the museum. “The materials donated by his parents, Judy and Dennis, will allow a deeper understanding not only of that time and how people responded and grieved but also the historical vulnerability of LGBTQ people.”

For 20 years, we have tried to share the meaning of our son’s life, as well as his dreams for a kinder, more accepting and loving world,” said Judy Shepard, speaking for the Shepard family. “While we always have our family memories, it is deeply comforting to know the Smithsonian will preserve his story for future generations. We cannot think of a better way to honor Matt’s life and legacy.

Matthew Wayne Shepard was born Dec. 1, 1976, in Casper, Wyoming. Shepard spent his childhood and teenage years in Casper and participated in various local theatrical productions. In his junior year of high school, the family moved to Saudi Arabia for his father’s new job with ARAMCO. Shepard returned to the United States after graduating from The American School in Switzerland (TASIS) and lived in North Carolina and Colorado before attending the University of Wyoming during the 1998-1999 school year. Continue reading

Public Art Installation By Derek Fordjour Debuts This Fall at The Whitney

Half Mast, a new work by Derek Fordjour (b. 1974, Memphis, TN) will be the eighth work in the ongoing series of public art installations on the façade of 95 Horatio Street, located directly across from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the High Line. The installation marks the artist’s first museum solo exhibition.

Derek Fordjour (b. 1974), Half Mast, 2018. Collection of the artist; courtesy Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Derek Fordjour (b. 1974), Half Mast, 2018. Collection of the artist; courtesy Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Half Mast is organized by the Whitney in partnership with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art. The series has featured works by Alex Katz (2014), Michele Abeles (2015), Njideka Akunyili Crosby (2015–2016), Torbjørn Rødland (2016-2017), Puppies Puppies (2017), Do Ho Suh (2017-18), and Christine Sun Kim (2018).

Fordjour works primarily in the realm of portrait painting to create vibrant scenes that subtly address subjects of systemic inequality, race, and aspiration, particularly in the context of American identity. Half Mast, a 2018 painting reproduced as a 17 x 29-foot vinyl print, will be unveiled this fall on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets.

Half Mast considers the recent national conversation around gun violence, speaking in particular to the surge of school shootings and to the everyday atrocities impacting Black and Brown communities in the United States. The piece offers a portrait of this complex moment in U.S. history by presenting many figures that are part of this conversation in one compressed, shared space. Seen in the crowd are law enforcement officials and civilians, including students, as well as absent figures, bodies marked with targets, and teddy bears and balloons reminiscent of street-side memorials.

Printed brightly in Fordjour’s signature graphic style, Half Mast retains a disquietingly buoyant quality while reflecting on loss and the abuse of power. In Half Mast and other work, the artist draws on the language of games, sports, and the carnivalesque, layering the canvas with humble materials—such as newspaper, oil pastels, and charcoal. His palette and use of pattern allude to Americana and Pop Art as well as the visual culture of his Ghanaian heritage.

The work speaks to the sense of unease and gross neglect that colors much of contemporary life in the United States and serves as a public acknowledgment of loss. Yet the meaning of Derek’s image can also flip. Half Mast alludes to possibilities of a civic movement or celebration and is a reminder of the power of individuals to resist and shape their everyday conditions,” says Allie Tepper, the curatorial project assistant organizing the installation.

Fordjour’s practice frequently engages with the use of public space, and Half Mast is one of two current commissions of major public work. The artist is also the recipient of a 2018 MTA Commission for a permanent installation at the 145th Street subway station in Harlem.

Derek Fordjour has exhibited in numerous venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Sugarhill Children’s Museum, and the Taubman Museum. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and earned a Master’s Degree in Art Education from Harvard University and an MFA in Painting at Hunter College. He currently serves as a Core Critic at the Yale University School of Art. Fordjour is the recipient of a 2018 MTA Commission for the entire 145th Street subway station in Harlem. He was awarded a 2018 Deutsche Bank NYFA Fellowship and was a 2017-18 artist-in-residence at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in New York. He will present a solo exhibition at Night Gallery in Los Angeles in winter 2019.

Derek Fordjour: Half Mast is part of Outside the Box programming, which is supported by a generous endowment from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation.