The Smithsonian American Art Museum is exhibiting Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018, thru May 5, 2019.The exhibition features the work of Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth, and Stephanie Syjuco, who “challenge the conventional definitions of craft by imbuing it with a renewed sense of emotional purpose, inclusiveness, and activism.” The four artists work in a variety of media including ceramics, wood, and fibers. “They all share a dedication to social justice and to interrogating cultural identities and established historical narratives. By exploiting the conceptual toolkits of craft, they develop responses to the contemporary political landscape while also analyzing and challenging their own cultural histories.”
Image below: Dustin Farnsworth, XLIII, 2016, poplar, reclaimed wood, chair, pencil, and various polychrome. Collection of Sandy Berlin. Photo by Ben Premeau
The American Art Museum is exhibiting Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor, thru March 17, 2019.Bill Traylor (1853/54-1949) is "one of the most celebrated American self-taught artists. His drawn and painted imagery embodies the crossroads of multiple worlds: black and white, rural and urban, old and new. This exhibition is the first retrospective ever organized for an artist born into slavery and the most comprehensive look at Traylor’s work to date."
Image below:Bill Traylor, Man on Crutch and Woman with Umbrella, ca. 1939-1942, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is exhibiting Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen, thru January 6, 2019. Conceptual artist Paglen “blurs the lines between art, science, and investigative journalism to construct unfamiliar and at times unsettling ways to see and interpret the world around us.” In Paglen's photographs, the infrastructure of surveillance is apparent. This mid-career survey is the first exhibition to present his early photographic series alongside his recent sculptural objects and new work with artificial intelligence. The exhibition is organized by John Jacob, SAAM’s McEvoy Family Curator for Photography, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Pushing the Envelope: Mail Art from the Archives of American Artis on view thru January 4.Mail art, which is alternatively called “correspondence art” or “postal art,” is used by an international network of participants to create art and "share it with others regarding culture and communications." They creatively sidestep the art market and, in many instances, elude government censors.