Smithsonian

Post image for What It Is to Be Cool in America

What is cool and why do Americans care so much? That’s the hinge on which the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery has fixed American Cool — an exhibition of portraiture that opened in February — and its accompanying catalogue.

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Post image for Thunderbirds and Underwater Panthers in an Overlooked American Indian Art History

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York is holding the first major survey of art by Anishinaabe artists in the Great Lakes region, with over a hundred works from artists both contemporary and ancient, all linked by the 10,000-year history of human settlement in the area.

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Post image for Smithsonian Joins MoMA in Expanding Video Game Effort

As the Smithsonian American Art Museum continues to expand its video game collection (two acquisitions were announced today), so too does the Washington, DC-based institution find itself increasingly dedicated to documenting the broader culture of video game production.

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Post image for How the Looming US Government Shutdown Will Affect the World of Art

By midnight this evening, we’ll finally know whether the government will be shut down — that’s the silver lining to be found in the otherwise bleak congressional budget debate.

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Post image for The First Code Acquired by Smithsonian’s Design Museum Is Released to the World

The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is getting onboard with digital acquisitions, this week announcing their first code addition to their collection.

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Post image for See the Studios of Artists Past

The Smithsonian Institution has an awesome online archive of old photographs of artists, many in their studios, where sculptors pose midway through work and painters cradle their palettes at their easels. Some have their clothes stained with paint, others obviously spruced up for the portrait occasion. Some are comfortable and confident, others somewhat awkward. Basically, like the cluttered studios, artists haven’t changed.

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Post image for Contract Workers at Smithsonian Protest Low Wages

Some 50 food service workers at the Smithsonian museums went on strike yesterday, in protest of their less-than-livable wages, but the institution tried to spin the story.

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Post image for Facing Budget Cuts, Smithsonian Cuts Exhibitions and Closes Galleries

Earlier this week, officials with the Smithsonian Institution gave testimony on the impact of federal budget cuts from sequestration. The cuts will force the Smithsonian Institution to not just cancel or put on hold some upcoming exhibitions, but, starting May 1, to temporarily close off galleries throughout the year as well.

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Post image for An Ancient Symbol of Tolerance Goes on Its First American Tour

Back in the ancient world, whole clusters of ceremonial objects would be buried at a specific points in temple foundations, with a theorized reason being that these ritualistic items were believed to keep the buildings from ruin. While this didn’t quite work in the longterm, as temples are as structurally fragile as everything else over the centuries, they did turn into inadvertent time capsules. One particular foundation deposit in Babylon contained an artifact that has become as significant symbolically as it is as a relic of the ancient world. And it’s now on its first American tour.

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Post image for BIG Architects to Design LEGO Museum and Smithsonian Master Plan

Bjarke Ingels Group (or BIG), the Danish architecture firm helmed by its namesake, is getting even bigger. New plans to create a LEGO museum and develop the master plan for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., signal that the buzzed-about firm is on the cusp of becoming the world’s next big starchitecture outlet.

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