The “American Pictures” series at the Smithsonian continued with its second installment when Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, travel writer, and historian Tony Horwitz explored a gripping 1872 portrait of John Brown. The white abolitionist was the subject of Horwitz’s most recent book, Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War (2011).
Illustrator and writer Maira Kalman opened the American Pictures Series 2012 by exploring a haunting photo by Diane Arbus. Kalman has written and illustrated more than a dozen books for children, including Looking at Lincoln (2012), Ooh-la-la-Max in Love (2001), What Pete Ate (2001), and 13 WORDS (2010), a collaboration with Lemony Snicket. Kalman’s books for adults include And the Pursuit of Happiness (2010), and an illustrated version of Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style (2005). The American Pictures Series includes four lectures at the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The “American Pictures” series at the Smithsonian continued with its fourth and final installment when memoirist, novelist, and musician James McBride explored a dynamic 1969 photograph of soul music legend James Brown performing at the Shrine Auditorium. The photograph that McBride chose to speak about, “Singer James Brown During a Performance at the Shrine” (1969) memorialized the legendary performer at the height of his career, bringing funk music to an audience eager to embrace the new sound.