Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens The Phillips Collection
Washington, D.C.

The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street NW
Washington DC

America's First Museum of Modern Art



Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition

Moira Dryer

Celebrating Women Artists in The Phillips Collection

Moral Injury / So Vote: A Special Installation by Jenny Holzer

Hopper in Paris: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art

America in Colot: Brian Dailey

Digital Intersections: Luca Buvoli

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

Dear Dove, Dear Phillips, Dear Stieglitz


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Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition
February 29 - May 24, 2020

Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition presents works by African American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries together with examples by the early 20th century European artists with whom they engaged. This exhibition explores the connections and frictions around modernism in the work of artists such as Romare Bearden, Robert Colescott, Renee Cox, Wassily Kandinsky, Norman Lewis, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Faith Ringgold, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carrie Mae Weems, among others. European modernist art has been an important, yet complicated influence on black artists for more than a century. The powerful push and pull of this relationship constitutes a distinct tradition for many African American artists who have mined the narratives of art history, whether to find inspiration, mount a critique, or claim their own space. Riffs and Relations examines these cross-cultural conversations and presents the divergent works that reflect these complex dialogues.

The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection with guest curator Dr. Adrienne L. Childs.

With lead support provided by The Frauke and Willem de Looper Charitable Fund, Altria Group, and The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts.

Brought to you by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, The Robert Lehman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Eric Richter and Charles Shoener, Amanda and Earl W. Stafford, and George Vradenburg and the Vradenburg Foundation.

Moira Dryer
Through April 19, 2020

Featuring 22 of her richly textured and color saturated paintings and sculptures, this is the first comprehensive museum exhibition to consider the early work of Moira Dryer (c. 1957, Toronto, Canada; d. 1992, New York City). From her beginnings in the early 1980s until her death, Dryer pursued a line of work in dialogue with modernist painting and abstraction while in consideration of more contemporary themes. Before devoting herself full-time to painting, Dryer worked for years as a set designer for the avant-garde theater company Mabou Mines, an experience that influenced her painting and the way she spoke about her work. This exhibition considers Dryer’s development as her work progresses from recognizable theater references such as curtains and spatial representations to abstract portraits that begin to move toward sculpture. Dryer infused her works with a level of pathos that allowed her to play with stillness and animation, reference and abstraction, and real and represented space.

The exhibition also includes a collection of notes, drawings, and photographs from the artist’s archive that provide a historical context firmly placing Dryer at the center of the conversation regarding painting in the 1980s and 90s.

A satellite exhibition of Dryer’s work is on view at the Greater Reston Arts Center from January 18–April 18, 2020. Moira Dryer: Yours for the Asking provides a more intimate look at the works the artist left in the collections of friends and family, most of which have never before been shown publicly.

The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection with guest curator Lily Siegel.

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

Celebrating Women Artists in The Phillips Collection
Through December 20, 2020, Digital Presentation

About the exhibition
Join us on September 24 for Artists of Conscience: Women, Race, Representation, a virtual discussion with Susan Unterberg, Jae Ko, Jennifer Wen Ma, Jeanne Silverthorne, Renée Stout, and others.

The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment which granted women the constitutional right to vote, though women of color continued to encounter barriers in exercising this right. The Phillips Collection celebrates this important milestone of American history—and also the women who have fought for equal rights and representation to this day—with this online viewing of works by women artists from the Phillips’s permanent collection, including seven artists who were recipients of the Anonymous Was a Woman (AWAW) Award:

Jae Ko
Simone Leigh
Jennifer Wen Ma
Arlene Shechet
Jeanne Silverthorne
Valeska Soares
Renée Stout

AWAW was founded in 1996 by American philanthropist and photographer Susan Unterberg to support female artists over the age of 40. The award anonymously grants $25,000 to 10 women-identifying artists each year; to date, over 230 artists have received this award. The name, Anonymous Was a Woman, refers to a line in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own to pay tribute to female artists in history who signed their paintings “Anonymous” so that their work would be taken seriously.

In 2018, Unterberg revealed her name with the hope of inspiring additional philanthropy in arts and culture. The installation spread throughout the second floor of the Phillips House (and also presented digitally—stay tuned!), honors Unterberg’s important contribution to the artistic community. It is complemented by additional works by women artists from the Phillips’s permanent collection, past and present.

Moral Injury / So Vote: A Special Installation by Jenny Holzer
Through December 31, 2020

About the installation
“When art or writing functions, it raises ideas and has them felt, and this knowledge and feeling may be the basis for decent action.”—Jenny Holzer

As part of our celebration of women artists in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, The Phillips Collection presents a special installation on the façade of the museum by Jenny Holzer. This installation is presented in conjunction with Artists of Conscience: Women, Race, Representation on September 24, and our digital presentation of women artists from the collection in the Phillips House galleries this fall.

For more than forty years, Jenny Holzer has presented her astringent ideas, arguments, and sorrows in public places and international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Her medium, whether formulated as a T-shirt, a plaque, or an LED sign, is writing, and the public dimension is integral to the delivery of her work. Starting in the 1970s with the New York City posters and continuing through her recent light projections on landscape and architecture, her practice has rivaled ignorance and violence with humor, kindness, and courage. Holzer received the Leone d’Oro at the Venice Biennale in 1990, the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 1996, and the U.S. State Department’s International Medal of Arts in 2017. She holds honorary degrees from Williams College, the Rhode Island School of Design, The New School, and Smith College. She lives and works in New York.

Hopper in Paris: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art
Through January 10, 2021

Hopper in Paris presents 11 works by Edward Hopper exclusively on loan from the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. These defining works were created during the iconic American painter’s early career while he lived in and visited Paris.

In 1906, following his artistic training with William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri at the New York School of Art, Edward Hopper (born 1882, Upper Nyack, NY; died 1967, New York, NY) lived for a year in Paris, later returning for shorter sojourns in 1909 and 1910. The works on loan from the Whitney—quiet, urban scenes devoid of people—are critical early examples, painted before Hopper returned to the US and began creating his images of American life and identity. In Paris, Hopper enjoyed observing and capturing everyday life on the streets and visiting exhibitions to see the latest expressions in modern art. His picturesque views of the Parisian landscape are rendered in stark contrasts of light and dark, framed from high vantage points and striking angles, presaging elements that would become the hallmark of his mature work.

America in Colot: Brian Dailey
Theough December 31, 2020

Amidst the cacophony of a polarized political environment in the two years running up to the 2012 national elections in the United States, Brian Dailey (born 1951, Pittsburg, CA; lives and works in Washington, DC) embarked on a multifaceted artwork that defies easy categorization. While this project was finished and exhibited during the 2012 election, its relevancy and efficacy are even more important today.

The artwork is comprised of over 1,200 individual portraits taken in 22 states across 20,000 miles of both rural and urban America. The visually compelling photographic tapestry that emerged constitutes the culmination of this timely and poignant project about democracy, political diversity, and personal identity. It serves as a color-coded time capsule (blue for Democratic Party, red for Republican Party, gray for independent, green for Green Party, and yellow for those who can’t or choose not to vote) of the myriad faces of the U.S. populace situated literally and symbolically against a backdrop of the contemporary political landscape.

Dailey’s project offers a contemporary take on portraiture, encouraging us to make our own connections with and between these individuals and challenging us to look beyond the surface, examining entrenched notions about the relationship between appearance and personal values.

Digital Intersections: Luca Buvoli
Through December 1, 2020

About the Exhibition
The Phillips Collection presents its first digital Intersections project: Picture: Present by Luca Buvoli. Created for the Phillips, Picture: Present is the most recent episode from the artist's Astrodoubt and The Quarantine Chronicles series that features tragicomic visual narratives commenting on the current covid-19 health and social crisis. The 12 scenes, which were unveiled simultaneously on the Phillips’s website, Instagram, and Facebook from July 20–August 7, 2020, will be available on the website through December 1, 2020.

Utilizing images of works from the Phillips’s permanent collection, Picture: Present reads like a storyboard, reflecting on the emotional unrest and social constraints caused by the pandemic. With lively texts integrated within the pictures and written in a style mostly reflective of the time period, the Phillips artworks are re-contextualized as individual panels to tell a fluid story about the pandemic, offering “safety messages” for survival through art. The narrative crosses feelings of isolation, anxiety, and fear, as well as disillusionment in how the crisis has been handled, and ends with a focus on the restorative power of art.

Buvoli began The Quarantine Chronicles (@astrodoubt_)—his daily practice of expression and communication—while living in isolation during quarantine. The protagonist is Astrodoubt, a fictitious astronaut who imagines drifting into space to escape ecological disaster, but is instead is grounded on this planet by the deadly pandemic. Astrodoubt’s only hope for survival is “humor and creativity.”

The series is part of the artist’s Space Doubt Expedition Project, which began in 2009 in collaboration with NASA scientists and other institutions, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Over more than one decade, the project evolved from sculpture and drawing to painting, video animations, installations, and most recently social media.

ABOUT the artist
New York-based multimedia artist Luca Buvoli (b. 1963, Italy) has exhibited internationally for 30 years. His work intertwines mythology, science, and ideology, with daily life and humor. Major institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Guggenheim Museum in New York have acquired his sculptures, and his animated films and videos have been screened internationally at the Lincoln Center, New York; MoMA, New York; and the British Library, London. His expanded multimedia projects have been presented at the 2007 Venice Biennale, the 1997 Johannesburg Biennale, and other biennials in Asia and Europe. He has had solo shows at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2001); the M.I.T. List Center, Cambridge (2000); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2007); John Weber Gallery, New York (1995, 1997, 1999); and Hyundai Gallery, Seoul, Korea (2012), among others.

Buvoli is the Director of the Mount Royal School of Art Multidisciplinary Master of Fine Arts Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.

Intersections is the Phillips’s ongoing series of contemporary art projects in which artists are invited to produce work that engages the museum’s architecture and/or permanent collection, exploring the intriguing intersections between past and present.

Inaugurated in 2009 and led by Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović, the Phillips’s Intersections series has presented 28 projects from the US and abroad. The artists have created diverse projects—both aesthetically and conceptually—and employed various media, from wall-drawing, rubber-painting, and digital photography to video projection and yarn installation.

Moving Forward, Looking Back: A Collection Still in the Making: Selections from The Phillips Collection Archives
Through December 31, 2020

Marjorie Phillips’s paintings were always on view at The Phillips Collection. She was Duncan Phillips’s equal partner in making acquisitions and organizing exhibitions. Marjorie helped Duncan to gain insight into the creative process as well as to gradually accept abstract art and the work of artists who used color expressively. She was the associate director of the museum beginning in 1924 and, following Duncan’s death in 1966, served as director until 1972.

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.

About the Exhibition
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.

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.

Dear Dove, Dear Phillips, Dear Stieglitz
Through January 3, 2021
Reading Room Exhibition

This is the first letter that Arthur Dove wrote to Duncan Phillips. The artist invited the collector to see his exhibition at Stieglitz’s 291 gallery in New York City: “Your interest in my paintings leaves me free to tell you that I think a vital step has been taken in modern expression with the later ones. Yesterday on seeing the new paintings hung together for the first time I felt that there was beauty there that had gone much farther toward a new reality of my own. I feel that you should and will go to see them.”

About the Exhibition
[Arthur] Dove’s relationship with my father [Duncan Phillips]—launched, controlled, and sometimes distorted by the redoubtable Alfred Stieglitz—must stand as one of the most interesting and productive artist-patron relationships of modern times . . . Dove was the model of what [my father] wanted most to encourage—the independent artist with a powerful, fresh, and highly personal vision.—Laughlin Phillips

Arthur Dove (1880-1946) grew up in Geneva, New York. He attended Cornell University, where he took classes in pre-law to please his father and studied art to please himself. Following graduation, he became an illustrator, and eventually dedicated himself to painting. In his early work, Dove explored realistic subjects, such as still lifes, but by 1910, deeply influenced by his immersion in nature, he began to work abstractly, creating some of the first abstract paintings in the United States.

In 1912, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), acclaimed photographer and gallery owner representing Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, and Marsden Hartley, among others, became Dove’s dealer. Beginning in 1930, museum founder Duncan Phillips (1886-1966) became Dove’s patron. He sent Dove a check for 50 dollars a month (which increased to 200 a month by 1944) in exchange for first choice of the artist’s paintings that were exhibited at Stieglitz’s gallery, which also allowed the artist to dedicate himself to painting. Phillips responded to Dove’s individuality, simple way of life, and his independence from European art movements. The Phillips Collection gave Dove his first museum retrospective in 1937 and owns 56 works by the artist—the largest collection of works by Dove in the world. Artist, patron, and gallery dealer exchanged hundreds of letters from 1926 to 1946, the year that Dove and Stieglitz died. This Reading Room exhibition examines their relationship through correspondence from the Phillips archives, photographs, and more.

From 1924 to 1933, Dove lived on a 42-foot-long sailboat, the Mona, with his second wife, Helen “Reds” Torr, who was also a painter. They sailed around Long Island Sound, near Huntington Harbor.

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