This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World

May 13, 2022 – April 2, 2023

Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Portrait of Resilience, from the Flag Series, 2020, dye discharge fabric, antique quilt fabric, vinyl, flag fabric, and African print fabric, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Kenneth R. Trapp Acquisition Fund, 2021.35. © 2021, Sharon Kerry-Harlan. Photo by Lee Stalsworth – Fine Art through Photography

This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World showcases American craft like never before. The exhibition highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations, stories of resilience, and methods of activism—showing us a more relational and empathetic world. It centers more expansive definitions and acknowledgments of often-overlooked histories and contributions of women, people of color, and other marginalized communities.

This Present Moment activates two floors of gallery space, highlighting nearly 150 artworks from the museum’s permanent collection in a range of craft mediums from fiber and ceramics to glass and mixed media. Approximately 135 of the featured artworks are new acquisitions, never before seen at the Renwick Gallery.

This Present Moment marks the fiftieth anniversary of SAAM’s Renwick Gallery as the nation’s preeminent center for the enjoyment of American craft. It honors the history of studio craft while also introducing progressive contemporary narratives and supporting makers of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, abilities, and creeds by examining all forms of creative practice.