Great Washington Museums: Smithsonian American Art Museum

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s signature works by a woman artist, Pat Steir’s Looking for the Mountain. Visit www.nmwa.org and download the pdf map to begin your journey!

Pat Steir, Looking for the Mountain, 1971; Oil, pencil, crayon, and ink on canvas; 92 3/8 x 75 ¼ in.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Richard M. Hollander in honor of Jean S. Lighton, 1984.137

Pat Steir, Looking for the Mountain, 1971; Oil, pencil, crayon, and ink on canvas; 92 3/8 x 75 ¼ in.; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Richard M. Hollander in honor of Jean S. Lighton, 1984.137

Throughout her career, Pat Steir has been equally fascinated by painting, drawing, and printmaking. Her images from the early 1970s recalled maps, with journalistic notations and diagrams of personal experiences, as well as actual directions for making the art. Her first major public exposure came in 1972, when one of her paintings was reproduced in Time magazine’s issue on the women’s movement, with which Steir was closely associated. Her most recent paintings and prints continue to explore the evocative effect of marks as a means of communication. On view indefinitely.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, 7th & F Streets NW; http://AmericanArt.si.edu