“One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey” at NPG, Washington, D.C. | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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“One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey” at NPG, Washington, D.C.

"Rock Groups San Francisco," 1967 Irving Penn, Platinum-palladium print (printed 1974)
(National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Irving Penn© The Irving Penn Foundation )

1968 was a year of revolutionary change in the United States. It was also the year when the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery opened to the public. To celebrate the occasion, the museum will showcase “One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey,” — a time capsule of a diverse group of figures whose legacies continue to affect the nation in ineffable ways. The exhibition, curated by Portrait Gallery Historian James Barber, will be view from June 29, 2018, through May 19, 2019.

“It seems prescient that in 1968, when America was in political and social turmoil, Congress opened a museum ‘with a serious national purpose’ of telling the stories of those who had contributed to the country’s history and culture,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Our public opening on October 7 that year provided an opportunity for citizens to recognize how far the nation had come since independence and to rededicate a sense of unity, despite growing social unrest in the aftermath of the brutal assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy. Today’s concepts of leadership, civic engagement, creativity and tenacity derive from those who came before us and the American odyssey that took place over the course of a single year.”

The exhibition will showcase 30 notable objects that include photographs, paintings, prints, drawings, and magazines. These objects highlight a time when Americans were questioning issues of leadership, citizenship, and nationhood.

In 1968, Americans put forth new ways of thinking that overturned the status quo and influenced the events that transpired over those 12 months. During the period, the Vietnam War reached a turning point, a Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and viewers followed everything from the Olympic Games to the first manned orbit of the moon live on television.  Newsmakers included President Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Richard M. Nixon, in addition to such cultural icons as Arthur Ashe, Joan Didion, Peggy Fleming, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Vince Lombardi, Sidney Poitier, and the three Apollo 8 astronauts.

Major artists whose work will be presented include Richard Avedon, Louis S. Glanzman, David Levine, Roy Lichtenstein, Irving Penn, George Tames and Robert Vickrey. “One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey” also will present original artworks that made the cover of Time magazine from the Portrait Gallery’s collection of over 2,000 portraits created for Time.

The exhibition will be on view from June 29, 2018, through May 19, 2019, at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001, USA.

For details, visit: http://www.blouinartinfo.com/galleryguide-venues/285243/museum-overview

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.


Founder: Louise Blouin