2019 Gala

Join us at our annual gala in New York City to celebrate the work of the Archives and unique contributions of artists, collectors, dealers, historians, and philanthropists in the American art world.

Archives of American Art Gala, October 22, 2019 at the Essex House in New York City

Click here to purchase your tables or tickets today.
For more information, call (202) 633-7989 or email AAAGala@si.edu.  

Join the Archives of American Art on October 22 for an unforgettable evening to celebrate our 65th anniversary with artists, dealers, collectors, and other art world luminaries in the historic Essex House ballroom just steps away from Central Park. This special evening is an opportunity to celebrate the Archives with our distinguished honorees, jazz musicians from the Juilliard School, and a lively after party. We hope to see you there!

This year, we will also highlight our renowned oral history program that has preserved the distinct voices and human memory of the American art world for nearly 60 years. Together, these narratives weave a rich tapestry of firsthand experiences that amplify the unique stories of our visual arts heritage. Click here to learn more about this program.

On Tuesday, October 22, at Essex House in New York City, we will present artist Howardena Pindell and the American Academy of Arts and Letters with the Archives of American Art Medal, honoring distinguished members of the American arts community.

Howardena Pindell is a painter and mixed media artist. Using materials such as glitter, talcum powder, and perfume, she has experimented and engaged with a wide range of subject matter to defy the staid traditions of the art world and assert her place in its history. Throughout her career, Pindell has exhibited extensively, including landmark exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Among the prominent group exhibitions in which her work has been featured are We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–1985 (2017, the Brooklyn Museum, New York) and WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles). In 2018, a retrospective exhibition of Pindell’s work co-curated by Naomi Beckwith and Valerie Cassel Oliver, Howardena Pindell: What Remains to be Seen, was shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Pindell was interviewed in 1972 and 2012 for the Archives’ oral history program.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s 250 leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. The Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country. Early members included Albert Bierstadt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, John La Farge, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Current artist-members include Lynda Benglis, Lee Bontecou, Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, Mark di Suvero, Jim Dine, Ann Hamilton, Mary Heilmann, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Robert Mangold, Claes Oldenburg, Judy Pfaff, Susan Rothenberg, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, Pat Steir, Wayne Thiebaud, and Kara Walker, among many others. The Academy’s members are elected for life and pay no dues.

The Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History will also be conferred on Alexander Nemerov. The Award was created in 1998 by Trustee Emerita Barbara G. Fleischman as a tribute to her late husband, who co-founded the Archives with Edward Richardson in 1954.

Alexander Nemerov writes about the presence of art, the recollection of the past, and the importance of the humanities in our lives today. Committed to teaching the history of art more broadly as well as topics in American visual culture, he is a noted writer and speaker on the arts. His most recent books are Soulmaker: The Times of Lewis Hine (2016), Silent Dialogues: Diane Arbus and Howard Nemerov (2015), Wartime Kiss: Visions of the Moment in the 1940s (2013), and Acting in the Night: Macbeth and the Places of the Civil War (2010). He also published To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America (2011), the catalogue to the exhibition of the same title he curated at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.


Past Honorees

The Archives of American Art Medal honors distinguished members of the American art community.

2018     Sam Gilliam
             Roy Lichtenstein Foundation

2017     Sharon Percy Rockefeller
             Glenn Ligon 

2016     Steve Martin
             Catherine Opie

2015     Ford Foundation
             Robert Gober

2014     Robert  E. Meyerhoff
             Claes Oldenburg

2013     James Turrell
             Alice Walton

2012     Richard Serra
             Melva Bucksbaum & Raymond Learsy

2011     Cindy Sherman
            The Leadership of Ann L. Gund,
            Jo Carole Lauder, Wendy W. Luers, Carol Price, &
            Eden Rafshoon of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies

2010     Mark di Suvero
             Sheila Hicks
             Don & Mera Rubell

2009     Richard Artschwager
              Douglas S. Cramer
              Jack Lenor Larsen

2008     Ellen Phelan
              Joel Shapiro
              Joan T. Washburn
              Virginia M. Zabriskie

2007     John Baldessari

2006     Paula Cooper

2005     Barbara G. Fleischman & the Fleischman Legacy

2004     Eli Broad

2003     Rita Fraad & Margaret & Raymond Horowitz

2002     André Emmerich

2001     Wayne Thiebaud

2000     Salute to the Founders of the Archives of American Art

1999     Ellsworth Kelly

1998     Robert Hughes

1996     Chuck Close

1994     Agnes Gund

1993     Frank Stella

1991     Roy Lichtenstein

1990     Richard Manoogian

1988     Benjamin D. Holloway

The Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History originated in 1998 by Trustee Barbara G. Fleischman as a tribute to her late husband, who founded the Archives in 1954.

2018      Cécile Whiting

2017      Tomás Ybarra-Frausto

2016      Thomas Crow

2015      William H. Truettner

2014      Teresa A. Carbone

2013      Richard J. Powell

2012      Morrison H. Heckscher

2011       Dore Ashton

2010      William H. Gerdts

2009      Klaus Kertess

2008      Neil Harris

2007      H. Barbara Weinberg

2006      Wanda Corn

2005      Helen A. Cooper

2004      Robert Storr

2003      Barbara Haskell

2002      Linda Ferber

2001      Jules Prown

2000     John K. Howat

1999      Barbara Novak

1998      John Wilmerding

Archives of American Art Award for Philanthropic Leadership

2014      Terra Foundation for American Art

Gala Host Committee

Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation
Janice Carlson Oresman
LLWW Foundation
Raymond Learsy
Johanna & Leslie Garfield
Mr. & Mrs. Norman Bobins, The Robert Thomas Bobins Foundation
Joyce F. Menschel
Agnes Gund
Susan Dunne, Pace Gallery
Barbara G. Fleischman
Evelyn Day Lasry
Bridget Moore
Adele S. Merck
George Frederick Mead Merck


Friends and Supporters

Mary Anne Goley
Kate Prendergast, Marcia Marcus Media Inc.
Warrie and James David Price
Susanne Emmerich
Lowery Stokes Sims



Jean Cox
Betty Krulik Fine Art Limited
Linda S. Ferber and Joel B. Berson
Harvey S. Shipley Miller


Marica Vilcek
Marty O’Brien & Lisa Gordon
Dorothy Lichtenstein
Linda Lichtenberg Kaplan & Dr. Louis D. Kaplan
Debra J. Force
Garth Greenan
Barbara Tober
Helen W. Drutt English
Amy Bermingham & Charles Wilson
Martha J. Fleischman
Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel & John H. Krehbiel, Jr.
Deborah Schmidt Robinson & Perry Robinson
Barbara & John R. Robinson



Barbara T. Hoffman
Evelene Wechsler
Susan and Henry Johnson
Warrie and James David Price
Jack Flam and Katy Rogers, Dedalus Foundation



Elizabeth Enders
Renee & David McKee
Alvin L. Snowiss
Eykyn Maclean

Since 1958, our Oral History Program has preserved the distinct voices and human memory of the American art world in more than 2,400 interviews. Our oral history program creates unique, lengthy exchanges between interviewers and narrators, conversations that yield a richness of detail and a sense of character not available in other primary sources. These recordings chronicle the great diversity of the American art scene, augmenting and refining our perception of individual artists, dealers, critics, and curators and their social and professional worlds. Common themes, such as artists' educational backgrounds, working methods, sources of inspiration, technical innovations, and issues of patronage emerge across artistic mediums and across generations.

Recent oral history initiatives include:
Elizabeth Murray Oral History of Women in the Visual Arts Project
Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project
The Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts In America
The New Deal and the Arts

  • Photograph of ballroom with tables set.
  • Photograph of Archives of American Art Trustees

    2018 Gala Planning Committee

  • Photograph of Elia Alba, Erin Gilbert, and Liza Zapol

    Elia Alba, Erin Gilbert, and Liza Zapol

  • Photograph of Elizabeth Glassman and Dorothy Lichtenstein

    Elizabeth Glassman and Dorothy Lichtenstein

  • Elizabeth B. Beaman

  • Photograph Valerie Cassel Oliver and Kate Haw

    Valerie Cassel Oliver and Kate Haw

  • Photograph of Sam Gilliam

    Sam Gilliam

  • Cécile Whiting and Wanda Corn

    Cécile Whiting and Wanda Corn

  • Photograph of Adam Weinberg, Barbara Fleischman, and Gene Gargaro

    Adam Weinberg, Barbara Fleischman, and Gene Gargaro

  • Ave Ver Bockel and Lauren Layne