The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The best exhibitions of summer 2019

A rendering of the National Building Museum's Summer Block Party installation, “Lawn,” an immersive space. It will also include a large green area and hammocks. (The LAB at Rockwell Group/National Building Museum)


‘The Life of Animals in Japanese Art’

An exhibition of more than 300 works, including ceramics, paintings, sculptures, metalwork, woodblock prints and textiles, and spanning 16 centuries, that examines the use of animal imagery in Japanese art. At National Gallery of Art, East Building. Through Aug. 18.


‘Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote’

A look at women’s suffrage — the longest reform movement in American history — through images, documents, audio and video recordings. At Library of Congress. Through September 2020.


‘David H. Koch Hall of Fossils — Deep Time’

The new 31,000-square-foot fossil hall opens with 700 fossil specimens including early reptiles, mammals and insects, an Alaskan palm tree, a woolly mammoth, a diplodocus and a Tyrannosaurus rex. At National Museum of Natural History. Indefinitely.


‘6.13.89: The Cancelling of the Mapplethorpe Exhibition’

A look at the cancellation due to political pressure of the “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment” exhibition on June 13, 1989, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. At Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Through Oct. 6.

‘Women of Progress: Early Camera Portraits’

An exhibition of ambrotypes and daguerreotypes from the 1840s and 1850s featuring portraits of iconic feminists including Lucy Stone, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” author Harriet Beecher Stowe and abolitionist Lucretia Mott. At National Portrait Gallery. Through May 31.


‘Manifesto: Art x Agency’

Artist manifestos from the 20th century to the present are exhibited, including a film by German artist Julian Rosefeldt, and more than 400 works from the museum’s permanent collection. At Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Through Jan. 5.


‘I Am . . . Contemporary Women Artists of Africa’

An exhibition of works by 28 female artists from the museum’s collection that demonstrate contemporary feminism, covering subjects such as faith, racism, identity, community, politics and the environment. At National Museum of African Art. Through July 5, 2020.


‘The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement’

A look at perceptions and experiences of migration, the global refugee crisis and changing cultural landscapes through contemporary and historical works by 75 artists from around the globe. At Phillips Collection. Through Sept. 22.



An immense, immersive installation that features a large, green space with a mural of the sky above. It also includes lounging areas and hammocks hanging from the ceiling that contain audio recordings from American storytellers. At National Building Museum. Through Sept. 2.


‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon: A Century of Lunar Photographs to Apollo 11’

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, around 50 works are exhibited, including photographs from the unmanned preparation missions and glass stereographs taken on the moon by Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong that show close-ups of the lunar surface. At National Gallery of Art, West Building. Through Jan. 5.

‘Every Day: Selections from the Collection’

An installation featuring more than 65 works by black artists including Kara Walker, David Hammons, Jack Whitten and Glenn Ligon that are placed among works by more traditionally represented artists, including Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and Andy Warhol, to present a more inclusive and accurate view of contemporary art. At Baltimore Museum of Art. Through Jan. 5.


‘Neil Armstrong Spacesuit’

The spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore when he took the first steps on the moon is exhibited in connection with the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. At National Air and Space Museum. Indefinitely.

AUG. 10

‘My Iran: Six Women Photographers’

An exploration through photographs of life from the photographers’ home country, including personal photo albums, photos of street protests and glimpses of Iranians displaced to London. At Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Through Feb. 9.


‘The Eye of the Sun: Nineteenth-Century Photographs from the National Gallery of Art’

To mark the 180th anniversary of photography’s invention, this exhibition of some 170 photographs looks at the first 50 years of the medium. Works by Eadweard Muybridge, Lewis Carroll, Mary Dillwyn and Charles Marville are included. At National Gallery of Art, West Building. Through Dec. 1.