Looking for some great things to do over the summer while the tourists flood in? There are several great programs (free!) being hosted by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) in Penn Quarter this month. Take some time to check them out!
Opening Night of the IV BrazilDocs Documentary Film Week: Santiago
June 9, 7 p.m.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery host the opening-night film, “Santiago,” of the IV BrazilDocs Documentary Film Week, sponsored by the Cultural Section of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, DC. In 1992, João Moreira Salles, one of Brazil’s foremost documentary filmmakers, began shooting a film about Santiago, the butler in his childhood home, who had lived a rich and vivid life. Through the film’s personal narrative, Salles addresses the elements of memory and identity that are crucial to the documentary genre.
The House I Live In
June 11, 4 p.m.
A theatrical presentation by Catherine Ladnier chronicles life in America from New Year’s Eve in 1939 through the end of World War II. Music underscores dramatic readings of letters written by servicemen and their loved ones, which recount the lingering effects of the Great Depression, America’s involvement in World War II, life on the home front, the bravery of soldiers, and gratitude for peace. In conjunction with “To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America.”
In response to public demand, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has extended the deadline for public voting for the video games to be featured in its upcoming exhibition, “The Art of Video Games.” The voting period, originally scheduled to end April 7, now will close at midnight, Sunday, April 17.
The website offers participants a chance to vote for 80 games from a pool of 240 proposed choices in various categories, divided by era, game type and platform. More than three million votes have been cast since the voting site launched Feb. 14. A valid e-mail address is required to vote.
The winning games will be announced publicly Thursday, May 5. Anyone who registered to vote will receive advance notification of the winning games, as well as monthly updates and special behind-the-scenes offers leading up to the exhibition opening in Washington, D.C. and throughout the run of the exhibition.
“The Art of Video Games” is the first to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition. The exhibition will be on display at the museum from March 16, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2012; it then will travel to multiple venues in the United States.
As spring unfolds in DC and the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, the crowds will come to the Tidal Basin area. So if you’re looking for something else to do in town to avoid the tourista hordes, check out some of the great programs at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian.
This month at SAAM:
Women Building History: Public Art at the 1893 Columbian Exposition March 3, 7 p.m.
Wanda Corn describes the neoclassical Woman’s Building at the 1893 Exposition in Chicago—which celebrated modern woman’s progress in education, the arts, and science at the end of the nineteenth century—and how the building’s content was used to promote the expansion of opportunities for women. A book signing follows.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is inviting the public to help select the video games that will be included in its upcoming exhibition “The Art of Video Games,” which opens in Washington, DC on March 16, 2012. Voting is taking place online beginning today and running through April 7. A valid e-mail address is the only requirement to vote.
The exhibition is the first to explore the 40-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition.
The website offers participants a chance to vote for 80 games from a pool of 240 proposed choices in various categories, divided by era, game type, and platform; winning games will be displayed in the exhibition as screen shots and short video clips. The website includes an online forum where gaming enthusiasts can campaign for particular games and voice their opinions about the selections. The games on the voting site were selected for their graphic excellence, artistic intent, and innovative game design. Results will be available online in May. Continue reading →
Tired of being cooped up in the house as winter rolls along? Now’s the best time to visit several of the area museums we’re fortunate to have here in DC. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has some great events lined up for winter visitors. All events are at the SAAM, located in Penn Quarter adjacent to the National Portrait Gallery.
Rockman Film Series: Silent Running
Feb. 3, 6 p.m.
The second of three classic but rarely screened sci-fi films shown in conjunction with “Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow,” Silent Running tells the story of a scientist trapped on Saturn with two robots as his only companions after a mission to protect the last Earthly botanical specimens goes awry. Starring Bruce Dern, directed by Douglas Trumbull.
Body and Soul with the Thad Wilson Orchestra
Feb. 5, 3 p.m.
Oscar Micheaux’s 1925 silent film, accompanied live by the Thad Wilson Orchestra. Body and Soul features the legendary Paul Robeson in his screen debut, playing an escaped prisoner pretending to be a minister in a small Georgia Town. Limited seating available; free tickets are required and available in the museum’s G Street Lobby beginning at 2:30 p.m. Presented in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.
The following activities and events are at the National Museum of the American Indian, located at the eastern tip of the National Mall at 4th and Independence Avenue SW. (All activities are free.)
Native Dance: “Native Pride Dancers” Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m. and noon (Discovery Theater); Nov. 6, 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (Rasmuson Theater)
Authentic regalia.… rhythmic drumming… skilled footwork… experience the excitement of a Native American powwow! World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie of the Meskwaki Nation, and the Native Pride Dancers perform music and movement celebrated by their American Indian cultures. Reservations are required for Friday’s performances. Call Discovery Theater to reserve seating for groups and individuals: 202-633-8700 or visit http://discoverytheater.org. Saturday’s performances are open to the public, first come, first seated.
Family Celebration Harvest Festival Nov. 6-7, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm
The whole family is invited to kick off the Smithsonian’s celebration of American Indian Heritage Month with a weekend-long festival exploring how Native communities throughout the Americas celebrate the harvest. It includes harvest-related dance and theater performances, cooking demonstrations, and hands-on activities.
Derek A. Bencomo, Hana Valley, First View from the Peaks and Valleys Series, 1997, milowood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995--2003); photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum
So now that the tourists are (mostly) gone, time to get out and hit our various museums and their great programs and exhibitions! There’s a lot going on this month at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and we’re going to run down the list for you. Programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated; the SAAM is located in Penn Quarter at 8th and G Streets, NW. Note that some programs are at the Renwick Gallery at 17th and Pennsylvania and are noted accordingly.
Intersections/Intersecciones (Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.)
Artists Kathy Vargas, María Martínez-Cañas, and Martina López discuss the intersection of Latino culture and gender identity in their work. Moderated by Muriel Hasbun, associate professor of fine art photography at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. No tickets required; seating available in McEvoy Auditorium on a first-come, first-served basis.
Art à la Cart (Sept. 12, Noon – 3 p.m.)
Travel throughout the galleries to find interactive carts where kids can handle brushes, palettes, bison hide, bottle caps, and quilt squares. Ages 7-12. Pick up your Art à la Cart map and passport at information desks located in the F Street and G Street lobbies.
American Craft Masterpieces – Kim Schmahmann, Bureau of Bureaucracy, 1993-1999, courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum
August promises to be chock full of events at many museums around town as the summer heat continues to build. Check out what’s going on down at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) during the dog days of August; all programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The SAAM is located over in Penn Quarter at 8th and F Streets, NW.
Conservation Clinic (Aug 4; by appointment only)
Questions about the condition of a painting, frame, drawing, print, or sculpture? American Art conservators are available by appointment for consultation about the preservation of privately-owned art. To request an appointment or to learn more, email DWRCLunder@si.edu and specify CLINIC in the subject line.
Book Talk & Signing: “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera” (Aug 5, 6:30pm)
Many of Rockwell’s most memorable characters were friends and neighbors who served as amateur models. Author Ron Schick discusses how Rockwell acted as director — carefully orchestrating models, selecting props, and choosing locations for the photographs that served as the basis of his iconic images. Book signing follows. (This is a part of the SAAM’s comprehensive Rockwell & the Movies exhibition.)