In celebration of its 100th anniversary, The Phillips Collection—the first museum in the United States dedicated to modern art—has mounted a collection-based exhibition titled “Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century.” The show features approximately 250 objects representing a wide range of artists, organized around four themes: the senses, identity, history, and place. The centennial exhibition will be on view until September 12, 2021.
The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., America’s first museum dedicated to modern art, was the product of a pandemic. In 1918, the art collector Duncan Phillips lost his only brother, James, to the flu that was ravaging the globe; their father, a Civil War veteran and businessman, had died of a heart condition not long before. In 1921, Duncan Phillips honored their memory by turning his home into a museum, originally named the Phillips Memorial Art Gallery.
A century later, in the midst of another pandemic, the Phillips is celebrating its anniversary with a new exhibition, “Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century.” Scheduled to open March 6, Covid restrictions permitting, the show features about 250 works chosen from the museum’s collection of more than 6,000 objects. Senior curator Elsa Smithgall said that the exhibition organizers worked with a 13-member community advisory board, which hewed to Duncan Phillips’s collecting philosophy of embracing “a multiplicity of types of works and types of perspectives.” The results include paintings, quilts, sculpture, photographs, works on paper and videos by an international array of artists.