American Studies About Town

Our students select great events around town and online.

Kara Walker poster

For over two decades, artist Kara Walker (b. 1969) has been making work that weaves together imagery from the antebellum South, the brutality of slavery, and racist stereotypes. Her work has stirred controversy for its use of exaggerated caricatures that reflect long-standing racialized and gendered stereotypes and for its lurid depictions of history. 

Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) is a series of 15 prints based on the two-volume anthology published in 1866 and 1868. Walker’s work comments on the omission of African Americans from this narrative and urges viewers to consider the persistence of violent caricature and stereotype today. To create her prints, Walker enlarged select illustrations and then overlaid them with large stenciled figures. The silhouettes visually disrupt the scenes and suffuse them with scenarios evocative of the painful past left out of Harper’s original images. The Center for Women’s History contextualizes the exhibition—which is traveling from the Smithsonian American Art Museum—with objects, images, and documents from New-York Historical’s collections.

New York Historical Society - February 24, 2023 - June 11, 2023

National Museum of the American Indian

Native New York journeys through city and state to explore the question “What makes New York a Native place?” The exhibition encompasses 12 places in present-day New York, introducing visitors to the Native nations that call the region home. Stretching from Long Island through New York City and on toward Niagara Falls, it covers pre–Revolutionary War exchanges through contemporary events.

New York, NY

A Photography Triennial

The Museum of the City of New York is pleased to announce the first in an ongoing photography exhibition series. Inspired by the Museum’s landmark presentation of the same name in 2000, this series will occur every three years and engage different themes and issues of the contemporary city.

The first installment examines the idea of “Home.” At its most practical, “Home” refers to the literal places we dwell. Yet it can also stand for family, or the communities of which we choose to be a part. This vital and complex concept arises in often surprising ways in our urban context, from highly personal experiences to debates over public policy. This exhibition aims to look at how artists have responded to and interpreted these issues.

Museum of the City of New York

Through August 27, 2023

Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America is an exhibition exploring how Chinese food is defined and interpreted through the personal stories of 33 Chinese and Asian American chefs. The exhibition invites the audience into a conversation about the meaning of Chinese food as a platform for experimentation, a test of authenticity, a means of immigrant survival, and a microcosm of Chinese culture. Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy explores how food represents not only a cultural form of expression and identity, but how it is influenced through personal stories and geographical landscapes.


Something Beautiful: Reframing La Colección is El Museo del Barrio’s most ambitious presentation of its unique, complex, and culturally diverse permanent collection in over two decades. Organized by Rodrigo Moura, Chief Curator; Susanna V. Temkin, Curator; and Lee Sessions, Permanent Collection Associate Curator, the exhibition will present approximately 500 artworks, including new acquisitions and artist commissions, through rotating displays over the course of one year. Something Beautiful cuts across traditional chronological, geographic, and media-specific categories, reconsidering the Collection through new interdisciplinary approaches rooted in El Museo del Barrio’s foundational history and legacy. This forward-thinking model focuses on the contribution of Amerindian, African, and European cultures as the basis of visual production in the Americas and the Caribbean.

El Museo del Barrio


Material Witness: Folk and Self-Taught Artists at Work is organized in four distinct sections in the Cowin Gallery, and explores how artists learn with and through material engagement, often in ways that evade and exceed conventional frameworks for artistic training.

American Museum of Folk Art

March 17, 2023–October 29, 2023