Smithsonian Participates in FotoWeekDC Festival

Exhibitions at Five Smithsonian Museums Showcase the Diversity of the Institution’s Photography Collections
November 1, 2013
News Release

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The Smithsonian is partnering with FotoWeekDC for the sixth annual FotoWeekDC Festival Nov. 1-10. Exhibitions at five Smithsonian museums showcase the Institution’s photographic collections; they will be on view during the festival and beyond.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

“Sense of Place: Landscape Photographs from Asia” highlights the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary photography with a selection of works from Iran, China, Japan and Vietnam acquired since the late 1990s. The exhibition is on view until Nov. 11.

“In Focus: Ara Güler’s Anatolia” will feature never-before-shown works by the legendary photographer. It will examine Güler’s definition of himself as a photojournalist through the presentation of his photographs. The exhibition opens Dec. 14 and runs through May 4, 2014.

National Museum of African Art

“Lines, Marks, and Drawings: Through the Lens of Roger Ballen” looks at the artist’s 40-plus years as a photographer through a new approach: an examination of line and drawing in his photographs. The exhibition is on view through Feb. 9, 2014.

“Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon” celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives at the National Museum of African Art. This retrospective exhibition will focus on Elisofon’s innovative photography and its impact on portraying the diverse arts and cultures of modern-era Africa. It will be on view from Nov. 21 through Aug. 24, 2014.

National Portrait Gallery

“Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits” will feature iconic photographs of Americans who have distinguished themselves in fields as diverse as business, medicine, entertainment, politics and the arts. The exhibition is the museum’s first exhibition devoted entirely to the work of this internationally recognized portrait photographer. It will be displayed in two phases; the first opens Nov. 8 and the second open May 2, 2014.

“Meade Brothers: Pioneers in American Photography” explores the lives and careers of brothers Charles R. and Henry W.M. Meade, who, along with their contemporaries such as Mathew Brady and Southworth and Hawes, are recognized as leading members of the first generation of American studio photographers. This exhibition, which is on view through June 1, 2014, is thought to be the first dedicated solely to the work of these 19th-century American photographers.

“One Life: Martin Luther King Jr.” marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech. This one-room exhibition traces the trajectory of King’s career, from his rise to prominence as the leader of the national civil rights movement to his subsequent work as an antiwar activist and advocate for those living in poverty. It is on view through June 1, 2014.

From the late 19th century to today, dance has captured this nation’s culture in motion. “Dancing the Dream” showcases generations of performers, choreographers and impresarios. The show includes images of performers such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Michael Jackson, Savion Glover, George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Beyoncé, Isadora Duncan, Agnes de Mille and Lady Gaga. This exhibition, which is on view through July 13, 2014, explores the relationship between the art of dance and the evolution of a modern American identity.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition showcases excellence and innovation with a strong focus on the variety of portrait media used by artists today. The variety of media and diverse approaches to the exploration of “self” and “other” challenges preconceived notions of portraiture and expands the limits of visitors’ imagination. The juried competition resulted in an exhibition of 48 finalists, which is on view through Feb. 23, 2014.

“Bound for Freedom’s Light: African Americans and the Civil War” is the third installment in a series of exhibitions marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The exhibition explores the roles that individual African Americans played during the war. Among the featured stories are those of Frederick Douglass, Martin Delaney, Sojourner Truth and Gordon, who escaped from enslavement on Louisiana plantation to join a black regiment and fight for the Union cause. The exhibition is on view through March 2, 2014.

“Mathew Brady’s Photographs of Union Generals” is also an installation in the Portrait Gallery’s series of exhibitions marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Featuring modern prints made from Brady’s original glass-plate negatives in the museum’s Frederick Hill Meserve Collection, this installation includes portraits of many of the North’s military leaders, from George McClellan and Ambrose Burnside to William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses Grant. It will be on view through May 31, 2015.

Smithsonian American Art Museum

“A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” celebrates the numerous ways in which photography, from early daguerreotypes to contemporary digital works, has captured the American experience. The exhibition features 113 photographs selected from the museum’s permanent collection, including works by Edward S. Curtis, Timothy H. O’Sullivan, Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus, Roy DeCarava, Walker Evans, Irving Penn, Trevor Paglen, as well as vernacular works by unknown artists. The exhibition closes Jan. 5, 2014.

The American landscape has inspired generations of artists, but the 48 photographs in “Landscapes In Passing: Photographs by Steve Fitch, Robbert Flick, and Elaine Mayes” are a far cry from traditional representations of the subject. Where painters of the Hudson River School saw the sublime and survey photographers of the 19th century discerned supernatural majesty in America’s landscapes, Fitch, Flick and Mayes find evidence of civilization’s rapid expansion into suburbs and exurbs. Their images foreshadow today’s even more media-saturated environment and the telegraphic relationship to the natural world that it encourages.

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