Archives of American Art

The Archives of American Art is the world’s preeminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America.

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  • Artists often help us to break out of the paradigms to which we are knowingly and unknowingly accustomed. In this episode, New York- and Philadelphia-based artist Carolyn Lazard considers Emma Amos's resistances to white supremacy in the 1960s and Bruce Conner's disintegration of media's spectacular thrall in the 1970s as well as the legacies each artist left in their wake. 

Mail art (alternatively called “correspondence art” or “postal art”) emerged as a form of artistic practice in which an international network of participants use the mail to make art and share it with others regarding culture and communications, creatively sidestepping the art market and, in many instances, eluding government censors.

The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art celebrated the 2022 recipients of the Archives of American Art Medal and The Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History Tuesday, Oct. 25, in New York’s Rainbow Room at the Archives’ annual gala. Both awards recognize individuals who have made transformative contributions in the field of American art. Lowery Stokes Sims received The Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History, and Peter M. Brant and Ursula von Rydingsvard were awarded the Archives of American Art Medal. 

About the Archives

Original material can be consulted by appointment in our Washington, D.C. Headquarters.

Select holdings are available on microfilm at the Archives' offices in Washington, D.C. and at our New York Office.

Copies of unrestricted microfilm materials can be obtained through one of our affiliated research centers.

Internship, fellowship, and volunteer opportunities provide students and lifelong learners with the ability to contribute to the study and preservation of visual arts records in America.

A virtual repository of a substantial cross-section of the Archives' most significant collections.

Visit the Terra Foundation Center for Digital Collections