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Grid 4 rectangles wide by three rectangles tall of collage in palette of sea green when together, look like a map of the earth

Sum of Its Parts: Multi-Panel Works on Paper from the Collection

 September 1, 2023–January 7, 2024

This installation includes multi-panel photographs, prints, and collages from the SCMA collection made between the 17th and 21st centuries. This selection highlights the long history and many approaches to making modular works of art.

Painted wood sculpture of a frontal facing full figure jolly man in robes

Brought to Life: Painted Wood Sculpture from Europe, 1300–1700

September 16, 2022–August 6, 2023

This exhibition investigates the materials, techniques and reception of painted wood sculpture in Europe between the 13th and the 18th centuries. Polychrome (multicolored) wood sculptures are today recognized as art objects, but at the time they were made, viewers interacted with the sculptures as if they were alive. Most of the works on view here represent sacred figures from Christianity, and their lifelike appearance was central to their function as objects of prayer and devotion. Whether located in a church or a home, the sculptures were part of a multisensory experience.

Two women and a man sitting on an outdoor porch with one man and woman looking at an iPad

Jennifer Crandall: Whitman, Alabama

April 1–July 17, 2022
Jennifer Chang Crandall, Smith College’s Lakes Writer-in-Residence for spring 2022, is the creator of the 52-part film "Whitman, Alabama."
Photo of the Ancient Gallery Installation

The Ancient World Gallery

In 2019, the display of SCMA’s ancient art collection was reimagined to provide a more global view of the ancient world. Previously, this gallery’s scope had been limited to Egyptian, Greek and Roman art. The gallery now includes ancient objects from China, Japan, Korea, Persia and the Americas. Arranged in thematic groupings, these artworks span several millennia and encompass a wide range of media.
Barkley L. Hendricks. Lawdy Mama, 1969.

Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem

January 17–April 12, 2020

Comprised of nearly 100 works in many media, Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem showcases close to a century of creative achievement by artists of African descent, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Maren Hassinger, Norman Lewis, Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, Lorna Simpson, James VanDerZee, and Kehinde Wiley. Founded in 1968, The Studio Museum in Harlem has built an incomparable collection and become a model for how museums can be sites for exchanging ideas about art and society.

dark haired man with glasses in deep blue button down shirt standing in front af a wall with red and deep green colored ivy hanging off it

Abdessamad El Montassir Residency

March 6–April 21, 2023
Abdessamad El Montassir is SCMA’s spring 2023 Artist-in-Residence. With a deeply research-based approach, he creates film, photography, and sound installations that address histories outside of official narratives, especially as they relate to the western Sahara and themes of memory, intergenerational trauma, and what he describes as the right to forget.
Gallery image with knit fishing lines that look like webs hanging from the ceiling.

Agano Machiko: Untitled

November 4, 2022–July 9, 2023

Trained as a weaver, Agano Machiko is known today for fiber art installations that capture the invisible forces of nature. In the late 1990s, she began knitting fishing line and steel wire together in garter stitch with oversized needles.

A split screen shows a man cooking shirtless in the kitchen, and a closeup of a hanging American flag that says "100% cotton made in China"

Chien-Chi Chang: China Town

On View Through June 25, 2023
Chien-Chi Chang's video "China Town" documents the experiences of undocumented workers in New York City's Chinatown and their family members in Fujian, China. An immigrant himself, the artist believes immigration is propelled by both suffering and hope.
Red ropes hanging from a gallery ceiling with large knotted blue rope laying on the gallery floor

Red Hook at Bedford Terrace

March 11, 2022–April 2, 2023

During the 1980s, Sheila Pepe worked at SCMA in multiple roles, beginning as a gallery guard before working as a preparator’s assistant and a curatorial and administrative intern. In 2008, she returned to SCMA, to make Red Hook at Bedford Terrace. For Pepe, Red Hook at Bedford Terrace is a celebration of intersections and connectivity, of places, people, and their labor.

Group of young adults standing facing front and white shirts and blue pants, with some people singing

FX Harsono: NAMA

February 18–October 23, 2022
This installation focuses on the historical erasure and oppression suffered by Indonesia’s ethnic minority Chinese community, who were forced to change their names. The mournful collective performance indicates the artist’s choice of healing and reconciliation over anger or protest when dealing with injustice and trauma.
Close up of a page on an atlas that has been carved to look like a topographical map, with depth.

Maya Lin: Mappings

January 28–August 7, 2022
This exhibition showcases art by Maya Lin (American, born 1959). The exhibition brings attention to environmental issues like climate change, species extinction and the relationship between humans and the world we inhabit. 
Photograph based on Isaac Julien's Lessons of the Hour of a woman in 19th century floor length saturated blue dress, sitting for a photo portrait

Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour

December 17, 2021–July 10, 2022
Isaac Julien, CBE RA is one of the most important artists working in film and time-based media. Lessons of the Hour is inspired by episodes in the life of freedom fighter Frederick Douglass (1818–1895).
Installation photo of African Art Gallery

Arts of Africa, c. 1825–1960

July 6, 2021–May 28, 2023
This installation, guest-curated by Dr. Christa Clarke, features a selection of African art from SCMA’s collection. They are displayed prominently on the third floor and in proximity to works from Europe and the United States, with a shared thematic emphasis on tradition and transformation. This framework highlights the entangled histories of these regions and centers African visual culture within a broader art history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, enriching the stories we tell about art.
Amanda Williams, "An Imposing Number of Times" (2020–22), black and white banner on front of the Smith College Museum of Art

Amanda Williams: An Imposing Number of Times 

November 2020 through spring 2022
“How do you bring closure to something that lingers? How do you memorialize an injustice that is ongoing?” These are two of the questions that artist Amanda Williams asks with An Imposing Number of Times (2020–22), a multipart, site-specific artwork that explores how campus traditions create and transmit forms of belonging.
Installation view of the exhibition SCMA:Then\Now\Next

SCMA Then\Now\Next

Sept. 11, 2020–Jan. 2, 2022

On the occasion of SCMA’s centennial, this exhibition asks what it means to make and continually remake a museum. Smith College began collecting art at its founding in the 1870s, but it was not until 1920 that the collection was recognized as a museum. Through strategic purchases and generous gifts, the majority of which have come from Smith alumnae, the collection continues to grow. The development of the museum’s collection over the past century reveals the institution’s evolving vision and values.

Arthur Rothstein, American,1915-1985, Wife and Child of Submarginal Farmer at Their Window  Decorated for Christmas 1937

A Dust Bowl of Dog Soup: Picturing the Great Depression

November 19, 2019–May 24, 2020

In 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt needed to generate enthusiasm for his New Deal. The challenge was to find support for investments into programs and services directed primarily to the recovery of rural America, which most city folk had not experienced firsthand. Roosevelt’s conversational and intimate fireside radio chats brought him into people’s homes. His straight talk promised hope and comfort to an ailing nation and highlighted what the government was doing to remedy the country’s ills. 

Clarissa Tossin video still: Ch’u Mayaa, 2017

Clarissa Tossin: Ch’u Mayaa

October 11, 2019–January 5, 2020

Clarissa Tossin’s Ch’u Mayaa questions the forms of cultural appropriation in modernist architecture. Tossin focuses on Mayan Revival style as it manifested in Los Angeles during the early 20th century and sets the work in the Hollyhock House (built 1919–1921), a private home in Los Angeles designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Working with the choreographer and performer Crystal Sepúlveda, Tossin based Ch’u Mayaa’s choreography and movements on the gestures and poses represented in Mayan ceramics and murals. 

Prana by Peter Max

Buddhas | Buddhisms: Across and Beyond Asia

September 27, 2019–June 21, 2020

This exhibition presents Buddhist objects and Buddhist-inspired artworks, from across and beyond Asia, in their many and varied styles and expressions. The concept of “Asia,” which was invented by ancient Greeks and Romans and perpetuated by European geographers, misrepresents diverse groups of people and their divergent civilizations by suggesting they form a cohesive whole. Buddhism, however, is one of the few cultural traditions that has connected distinctive Asian populations over time.

Green Room, detail, Kyung Woo Han

Green Room

August 16–September 8, 2019
With wit and humor, Kyung Woo Han challenges the assumption that video is an artistic medium of faithfully representing truth.
Fragile Earth Gelatin print by Tom Young

Fragile Earth

July 19–November 10, 2019

The impact of human action on the earth has increased dramatically in the past 50 years. This installation, organized to coincide with Smith College’s Year on Climate Change, features a selection of works from the SCMA collection created between the early 1970s and mid-2000s that focus on the intersection of human life and our environment. 

Isla (detail), 2014. Aurora Robson

Plastic Entanglements

February 8–July 28, 2019

The story of plastic is as complex as the polymer chains that make up its unique material properties. Plastic Entanglements brings together sixty works by thirty contemporary artists to explore the environmental, aesthetic, and technological entanglements of our ongoing love affair with this paradoxical, infinitely malleable substance. Both miraculous and malignant, ephemeral yet relentlessly present, plastic infiltrates our global networks, our planet, and even our bodies.

Alma Thomas, American, 1891–1978. Morning in the Bowl of Night, 1973. Acrylic on canvas.

Alma Thomas: The Light of the Whole Universe

July 27, 2018–December 1, 2019
This gallery installation centers on a recent SCMA acquisition, Alma Thomas' 1973 painting Morning in the Bowl of Night, and features artworks from the permanent collection that are largely from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Ci Wara Mother and Child

Object Histories: From the African Continent to the SCMA Galleries

August 2018–June 2020

This special installation, from SCMA's collection, traces the unique histories of over 20 of the Museum’s most important works of African art. New research has connected artists with objects that were previously unattributed, while the roles of collectors and donors are examined in conjunction with the objects’ own cultural histories and meanings.