We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection

July 1, 2022 – March 26, 2023

Sister Gertrude Morgan,?Fan,?ca. 1970, paint and ink on card, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Margaret Z. Robson Collection, Gift of John E. and Douglas O. Robson, 2016.38.43R-V

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC

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Artists without formal training, who learned from family, community, and personal journeys, have long been a presence in American art. But it was not until the 1980s, with the help of trailblazing advocates, that the collective force of their creative vision and presence irrevocably turned the tide in the mainstream art world. Through drawings, paintings, and sculptures that span the narrative to the abstract, the artworks in We Are Made of Stories: Self-Taught Artists in the Robson Family Collection convey the humanistic power of art and allow us to see the world through the lens of another.

We Are Made of Stories traces the rise of self-taught artists in the twentieth century and examines how, despite wide-ranging societal, racial, and gender-based obstacles, their creativity and bold self-definition became major forces in American art.