Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens The Phillips Collection
Washington, D.C.
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The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street NW
Washington DC

America's First Museum of Modern Art



Jeanine Michna-Bales: Photographs of the Underground Railroad

Maggie Michael / Arthur Dove—Depth of Field

Zilia Sánchez: Soy Isla (I Am an Island)

Moving Forward, Looking Back


Jeanine Michna-Bales: Photographs of the Underground Railroad
March 2 - May 12, 2019

Marking 400 years since the start of the transatlantic slave trade in the Americas, this exhibition features selections from Jeanine Michna-Bales’s Through Darkness to Light: Photographs along the Underground Railroad series from the collection of Julia J. Norrell.

After researching the subject for more than a decade, Michna-Bales captured various sites that freedom-seekers traveled along the Underground Railroad. Recalling the fugitives who sought refuge in the dark chambers of night, Michna-Bales conjures their frightful journeys through her mysterious, night-time landscapes. One of the few visual records on the subject, this body of work “illuminate[s] the darkened corners of our shared history,” while prompting reflection about slavery's continued reverberations in our global world.

Join us for a panel conversation with the artist about the history and legacy of the Underground Railroad on March 2, 2019.

Maggie Michael / Arthur Dove—Depth of Field
February 21 - May 5, 2019

For her One-on-One installation, Depth of Field, artist Maggie Michael responds to paintings and collages by American modernist Arthur Dove (1880–1946) in the Phillips’s permanent collection. Michael is inspired by Dove’s understanding of his time and how he recorded weather, landscape, personal relationships, social injustices, and scientific discoveries in letters, paintings, and found object assemblages. Paintings from Michael’s Transfer, Residual, Krakow, and Colored Ground series will be in conversation with Dove’s work. Both artists explore abstraction, which becomes a record of their time alongside works by other artists across mediums. Michael explains, “Depth of Field is as much a nod to experimentation during the process of image making as it is to listening and observing our time and place. Depth of Field can be interpreted as a mechanical function of photography, a philosophical correlation, or a variable distance in physical space with multiple points of view and entry between here and there.”

The One-on-One series engages an artist to select a work from the museum’s permanent collection and juxtapose it with one or several works of his/her own.

Zilia Sánchez: Soy Isla (I Am an Island)
February 16 - May 19, 2019

The Phillips Collection presents the first museum retrospective of Cuban artist Zilia Sánchez (b. 1926, Havana). This long-overdue exhibition examines the artist’s prolific yet largely unknown career that spans almost 70 years, featuring more than 60 works including paintings, works on paper, shaped canvases, and sculptural pieces, alongside illustrations, design sketches, and ephemera. The exhibition traces Sánchez’s artistic journey from her early days in Cuba to her extended visits to Europe and residence in New York, and finally her move to Puerto Rico, where she now lives and works. Many of Sánchez’s works reference protagonists from ancient mythology (such as Trojans, Amazonians, and Antigone—all warriors and female heroines). Others have reoccurring motifs of lunar shapes, erotic topologies, and tattoo drawings that map physical and psychological spaces and add another dimension to her curvilinear geometry, rich with metaphorical meaning. The exhibition title, I Am an Island,​ serves as a personal metaphor for Sanchez's experience as an islander—connected to and disconnected from both the mainland and mainstream art currents.

The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection.

With lead exhibition support and a Curatorial Fellowship from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Generous funding is provided by the Diane & Bruce Halle Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the Ednah Root Foundation, the Marion F. Goldin Charitable Fund, the Lichtenberg Family Foundation, PHILLIPS, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and from the Frauke and Willem de Looper Charitable Fund.

The artist documentary on Zilia Sánchez is made possible by Beatriz Bolton and the Dosal Family Foundation.

Moving Forward, Looking Back
A Collection Still in the Making: Selections from The Phillips Collection Archives
Through December 31, 2018

In the 1960s, Phillips altered the Main Gallery, giving it an appearance that reflected the modernist aesthetic of the time. He removed the architectural details that had been in the room since its inception. A large work by Bradley Walker Tomlin occupies the center wall, surrounded by paintings by Arthur Dove, Jackson Pollock, and Henri Matisse.

The Phillips Collection was established in 1921 by Duncan Phillips (1886–1966), heir to a steel fortune, in his family’s 1897 house in historic Dupont Circle. Phillips never sought to establish a comprehensive survey of styles or movements, nor to exhibit the collection as a whole. From the outset, the museum has been dedicated to the idea of modernism as a dialogue between the past and the present, without restrictions on geography, nationality, or time period, embracing its founder’s vision to be “an intimate museum combined with an experiment station.”

Moving Forward, Looking Back presents a selection of photographs, exhibition announcements, Christmas cards, letters, journals, and more from the museum's archives that reveal the how The Phillips Collection has been an “experiment station” for nearly 100 years.

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