A Democracy of Images at Smithsonian

“A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” celebrates the numerous ways in which photography, from early daguerreotypes to contemporary digital works, has captured the American experience. The exhibition features landscape photography, formal portraits, scientific images, vernacular snapshots, documentary-style works from the New York Photo League, images from surveying expeditions sent west after the Civil War and more.

Photo Credit:
William Eggleston,
Tricycle (Memphis)
About, 1975, printed 1980
dye transfer print
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Amy Loeserman Klein
© Eggleston Artistic Trust
Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York

The exhibition is organized by Merry Foresta, guest curator and independent consultant for the arts. Foresta was the museum’s curator of photography from 1983 to 1999.

The exhibition’s title is inspired by American poet Walt Whitman’s belief that photography provided America with a new, democratic art form that matched the spirit of the young country. “A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” showcases 113 photographs, including a number of newly acquired works, selected from the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the museum’s photography collection. The exhibition opens to the public Friday, June 28, and remains on view through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, DC.