BISA BUTLER, “Don’t Tread On Me, God Damn, Let’s Go!— The Harlem Hellfighters,” 2021 (pieced, appliquéd, and quilted cottons, silk, wool, and velvet). | Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of David Bonderman.
Photo by Lee Stalsworth

THIS PRESENT MOMENT: CRAFTING A BETTER WORLD, a new exhibition on view at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), showcases the dynamic landscape of American craft.

The exhibition highlights the role that artists play in our world to spark essential conversations by asking two questions: How have you reimagined your idea of home during the global pandemic? How is craft relevant to your life?

The exhibition highlights 171 artworks from SAAM’s extensive holdings of modern and contemporary craft in a range of craft mediums from fiber and ceramics to glass and mixed media. These objects deepen the history of the studio craft movement while also introducing contemporary artworks that push the boundaries of what we interpret the handmade to be in the 21st century.

“The artwork being crafted and collected now is shaping an even bolder future, one that will help us better understand ourselves, each other and the world around us,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of SAAM.

This Present Moment celebrates the 50th anniversary of SAAM’s Renwick Gallery as the nation’s premier museum dedicated to American craft. An anniversary acquisition campaign, begun in 2020, focused on artworks made by a broadly representative and diverse group of American artists and increased the number of Black, Latinx, Asian American, LGBTQ+, Indigenous and women artists, among others, represented in the nation’s collection. This Present Moment features 135 of these objects, on display at the Renwick Gallery for the first time.

Featured artists include Tanya Aguiñiga, Bisa Butler, Nick Cave, David Chatt, Sonya Clark, Alicia Eggert, Aram Han Sifuentes, Carla Hemlock (Kanienkeháka), Sharon Kerry-Harlan, Ron Ho, Steven Young Lee, Linda Lopez, Roberto Lugo, George Nakashima, LJ Roberts, Judith Schaechter, Preston Singletary (Tlingit), Toshiko Takaezu, Gail Tremblay (Mi’kmaq and Onondaga), Nancy Worden, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Wanxin Zhang, and many more.

This Present Moment will be on view in Washington, D.C., at the Renwick Gallery through April 2, 2023. A range of public programs will accompany the exhibition.

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW), open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.


This post is sponsored by the Smithsonian American Art Museum