What’s doing at the Portrait Gallery in Dec?

We are talking about the dual Smithsonian museum: the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Freely joined at the hip, after the Hirshhorn, the most progressive art museum in DC. It is housed in the Old Patent Office Building near Chinatown. Not quite as exciting as other shows years past.


portriatAll special exhibits are no photo affairs.

nuestra compositeIllegally shot piece shows great display with lighting.

Of course, the Hispanic presence is a wide and diverse set of threads in our culture, sometimes never acknowledged, but Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art/Nuestra América: La presencia latina en el arte estadounidense  is kind of dry. A nice show, but not as much fun as the Chicago show at the National Museum of Mexican Art.

the funk of spanish catholocismPersonally I prefer the funk of Spanish Catholicism, also here.

William H Johnsons Flowers, Elizabeth Catlets Singing HeadWilliam H. Johnson’s Flowers, and Elizabeth Catlett’s Singing Head

It was nice to see some hommage done for the longest living African American sculptor, responsible for some exquisite sculpture (including Glory), as well as some damn good printmaking. Having abandoned America and becoming an ex-pat in Mexico, Catlett made many trips back to her birthland, but no less popular to the American mainstream. Several years ago they did a hommage to Steve Jobs, no saint indeed. With Catlett, someone might want to follow Orlando’s example and give her work a real show.

sollieSollie 17, a creepy installation

Sollie 17 is an installation by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, which recreates the life of an elderly man living alone in a run down hotel. It is certainly something to send creeps up your back. I am glad this museum can offer fare as wide as this.

Ralph Earls Mrs. Richard Alsop and MrsRalph Earl’s Mrs. Richard Alsop and Mrs Joseph Wright

Ralph Earl’s Mrs. Richard Alsop and Mrs Joseph Wright are the kinds of things that made limners famous. This early Americana stuff, reflects why Copley is the best early American portrait artist, and all the doodads he had to learn to pull American art in a more academic European tradition.

Cecelia Beaux Man with a Cat and John Singer Sargent ChanlerCecelia Beaux’s Man with a Cat and John Singer Sargent’s Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler

How a woman perceives a man, how a man perceives a woman.

John White Alexanders June and John Singer Sargents Spanish DancerJohn White Alexanders June and John Singer Sargent’s Spanish Dancer


american wing

DSC_0124xThey have taken on a new sculpture with the Thomas Hart Benton piece.








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2 Responses to “What’s doing at the Portrait Gallery in Dec?”

  1. Khanh Says:

    Which museum was this painting (john-singer-sargents-spanish-dancer) in?

    This is my favorite painting in the whole world and saw it ONCE over 20 years ago when El Jaleo was at the NGA. I have not seen it since and have no idea which collection it’s part of.

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