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what’s new in Affiliateland in February 2016

2016 is off to a great start with some noteworthy events at Affiliates:

NEW YORK
Undersecretary for Museums and Research Richard Kurin will give a lecture on the Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects followed by a book signing at the Museum of American Finance in New York, 2.10.

FLORIDA
National Museum of African American History and Culture curator Dr. Joanne Hyppolite will talk about their new museum at HistoryMiami in Miami, 2.11.

Curator Christine Kreamer from the National Museum of African Art

Curator Christine Kreamer from the National Museum of African Art

CONNECTICUT
National Museum of African Art curator Christine Kreamer will give a talk on African Cosmos: Stellar Arts in the Stars of the Smithsonian lecture series at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, 2.11.

NORTH CAROLINA
Undersecretary for Museums and Research Richard Kurin will give a lecture on the Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects followed by a book signing at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, 2.16.

MARYLAND
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture will host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary series, Major League Legends with a film on Hank Aaron in Baltimore, 2.17.

Several Affiliates will host screenings of the first installment of Major League Legends, a new documentary series, starting with a profile of Hank Aaron, produced by the Smithsonian Channel and Major League Baseball.

Several Affiliates will host screenings of the first installment of Major League Legends, a new documentary series, starting with a profile of Hank Aaron, produced by the Smithsonian Channel and Major League Baseball.

PENNSYLVANIA
The African American Museum will host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary on Hank Aaron in Philadelphia, 2.18.

The Heinz History Center will also screen the Hank Aaron documentary in Pittsburgh, 2.29.

TEXAS
Affiliations director Harold Closter will give remarks at the Asian Festival hosted by the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, 2.13.

WASHINGTON
The Museum of History and Industry will host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel’s new documentary on Hank Aaron in Seattle, 2.22.

COLORADO
History Colorado will host a screening of the Smithsonian Channel documentary on Hank Aaron in Denver, 2.23.

What to see while you’re in town for the National Conference

While you’re in D.C.,  don’t miss the opportunity to see what’s new at the Smithsonian! We know that it can be daunting to choose among all the museums and exhibitions, so here are a few suggestions, tailored to your time at the Affiliations conference.

Monday, June 15, 12:15 pm, Freer Sackler Gallery of Art
Before the conference starts, take advantage of a tour of Darren Waterson’s Filthy Lucre, a remix of the iconic Peacock Room (details here).

A decadent ruin collapsing under the weight of its own creative excess, Filthy Lucre forms the centerpiece of an unprecedented exhibition that highlights the complicated tensions between art and money, ego and patronage, and acts of creative expression in the nineteenth century and today. It’s a way to see Whistler’s Peacock Room in a completely new light.

Filthy Lucre

Tuesday, June 16, 5:30 pm, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Mingering Mike: SICKLE CELL ANEMIA, 1972. Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Mingering Mike: SICKLE CELL ANEMIA, 1972.
Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Head to the Smithsonian American Art Museum a little ahead of Congressional Night at the Smithsonian to catch a tour of the Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits exhibition.  If you’ve seen the retrospective documentary Searching For Sugar Man, you will love Mingering Mike, the soul superstar nobody has ever heard of. Learn about him and his visionary collection of fabricated music ephemera with Leslie Umberger, curator of folk and self-taught art. She will discuss the artist’s influences, share how the museum came to own the collection, and guide you through a collection of over 150 works of art.

Wednesday, June 17, 1 pm, Haupt Garden
Why not spend your lunch break learning “What Makes a Victorian Garden Victorian?”  Join one of the Smithsonian Gardens’ knowledgeable horticulturists who will describe the various features of the Enid A. Haupt Garden, including its plants and flowers, the Asian-inspired moongate garden, and the Moorish-inspired fountain garden.  Meet outside in the Haupt Garden, near the south entrance doors to the Smithsonian Castle.  Click here for complete information.

And if you can, take a peek at these new and exciting exhibitions:
Hear My Voice: Alexander Graham Bell and the Origins of Recorded Sound, National Museum of American History
In this new exhibition, see documents, recordings, laboratory notes, and apparatus from the Volta Laboratory. Learn about the early history of sound recording in the United States. Hear some of the earliest sound recordings ever made including the only known example of Graham Bell’s own voice, thanks to sound recovery techniques developed by Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in partnership with the Library of Congress and the Museum.

Photographer Zack Brown shooting dapper men in Harlem, c. 1937 by Eliot Elisofon, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Photographer Zack Brown shooting dapper men in Harlem, c. 1937 by Eliot Elisofon, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, © Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African American History and Culture gallery at the National Museum of American History
The much anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture is expected to officially open its doors in 2016. Check out what all the excitement is about right now!  A new exhibition at the National Museum of American History offers a preview of the artifacts and moments chronicled in the collections.

The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists, National Museum of African Art

Yinka Shonibare MBE How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Gentlemen) 2006 Sindika Dokolo Collection, Luanda Photograph by Axel Schneider ©Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt

Yinka Shonibare MBE
How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once (Gentlemen) 2006  Sindika Dokolo Collection, Luanda
Photograph by Axel Schneider
©Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt

Right down the hall from conference sessions in the Ripley Center, you will find The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists exhibition.  A combination of new commissions and recently produced works of art come together in this exhibition to demonstrate the ongoing global relevance of the themes addressed in Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem, The Divine Comedy. Forty of the best known and emerging artists from 18 African nations and the African diaspora working in media as diverse as video projection, installation, painting, sculpture and textiles explore diverse issues of politics, identity, faith, and form. In so doing, they reveal that each person’s vision of heaven, purgatory, or hell is unique.

Shirin Neshat: Facing History, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Grab lunch nearby and walk to the Hirshorn Museum to stroll the gardens.  Then, go upstairs to the second level to see the Shirin Neshat: Facing History exhibition. In her mesmerizing films and photographs, Shirin Neshat examines the nuances of

Shirin Neshat, I Am Its Secret (Women of Allah), 1993. Photo: Plauto. © Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

Shirin Neshat, I Am Its Secret (Women of Allah), 1993. Photo: Plauto. © Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels

power and identity in the Islamic world—particularly in her native country of Iran. Shirin Neshat: Facing History presents an array of Neshat’s most compelling works, illuminating the points at which cultural and political events have impacted her artistic practice.

 

For a complete list of all the events and exhibitions at the Smithsonian, click here!

An inspiring exhibition for your neighborhood

"The Healing Power of Art" while on view at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center in 2010.

Thirty-five seconds. That’s all it took to forever change the world for millions of Haitians on January 12, 2010. Now imagine those 35 seconds from a child’s point of view.  

Soon after the devastating earthquake, first lady of Haiti Elisabeth D. Préval called on Haitian artist Philippe Dodard and his fellow artists, as well as psychologists, educators and politicians, to create a safe place for children to express their feelings through art. Operating from converted buses at two sites in Port-au-Prince, Plas Timoun (The Children’s Place) uses the power of the visual and performing arts to bring healing to children, ages 6-10. 

Exhibition works of art in the concourse of the S. Dillon Ripley Center.

The simple works on paper created immediately following the earthquake were dark in color and imagery. Soon after, drawings began to reveal glimmers of hope and healing. The children of Plas Timoun were using brighter colors and depicting the innocence of childhood and their vision for a brighter future, attesting to the resilience of a nation and the power of art. With the help of Plas Timoun, these children will move more confidently toward their future and the lasting reconstruction of Haiti. “This exhibition gives the children of Haiti a chance to present to the world their vision of themselves and of the reconstruction of their country,” said Préval. “Their voices, so well expressed by colors and emotions, reflect our imaginary and social reality as vectors encouraging viewers to think with us of solutions to the problems facing contemporary Haiti.” 

Simple works on paper in "The Healing Power of Art" reveal glimmers of hope and healing.

Nearly 100 paintings and drawings created by Haiti’s young people at Plas Timoun are featured in the exhibition The Healing Power of Art: Works of Art by Haitian Children after the Earthquake, organized by the National Museum of African Art. Now, Smithsonian Affiliates can be the first to host this inspiring exhibition in their own community.  

While several of the artworks depict images relating to death and destruction, they also include illustrations of houses – both standing and damaged – with local architectural features, planes and helicopters reflecting rescue and recovery efforts, as well as colorful Haitian flags, nature scenes, abstract designs and children at play. Drawings by former First Lady Elisabeth Préval, First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, and Second Lady of the United States, Jill Biden who participated in a painting session at Plas Timoun, are included. 

"The Healing Power of Art" at the S. Dillon Ripley Center in 2010.

In addition, the exhibition includes three videos: Thirty Five Long Seconds: Haiti’s Deadly Earthquake, an 18-minute film chronicling the earthquake and its aftermath written and narrated by Mario L. Delatour, and two short video segments, one in which Dodard discusses the concept behind Plas Timoun and the other on a visit to Haiti by Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden. An outstanding beaded Haitian flag, map of Haiti and didactic panels complement the exhibition. 

For more information on booking this exhibition, click here to download the exhibition prospectus.

can your museum save the world?

Given all the challenges facing our global society today, should the museum community direct our resources and energies to tackle the world’s great problems, and if so, where do we begin?  Can our  efforts in  research, education, collaboration, or public service (or something else?) really make a difference in the face of issues ranging from hurricanes and earthquakes to war or the loss of indigenous cultures? 

The John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection, which documents the lives of a group of Ju/'hoansi (!Kung San Bushman) in Namibia, is held at the Human Studies Film Archives at the National Museum of Natural History. This audiovisual collection is unique in the world for its focus on one group of people over such a long period.

This topic will be the focus of a keynote session at the Affiliations conference on Monday June 14 at 1:30pm in Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History.  Cristián Samper, Director of the National Museum of Natural History and Johnnetta B. Cole, Director of the National Museum of African Art will offer their insights on how a natural history museum and an art museum are addressing these issues and preparing for the challenges that lie ahead. 

We want to share examples from Affiliateland, and ask any questions you may have.   Should museums try to save the world?

For more information about the 2010 Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference, click here.