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Charles Burchfield

The Archives of American Art celebrates the 50th anniversary of its oral history program with “Speaking of Art: Selections from the Archives of American Art’s Oral History Collection, 1958-2008.” This special exhibition will be on display Oct. 11 through Jan. 26, 2009, in the Archives of American Art’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.

“Speaking of Art” features audio excerpts from 28 of the Archives’ most fascinating interviews, paired with photographs from the Archives’ collection. Visitors are encouraged to spend time in the gallery, listening to and experiencing the particular inflections of artists, collectors and dealers as they speak candidly about their lives and work.

Among the accounts included in the exhibition, visitors will hear firsthand Lee Krasner reject the word “drip” as an accurate description of Jackson Pollock’s painting techniques, Charles Burchfield read poems that he penned on the verso of his paintings and Emmy Lou Packard recount working with Diego Rivera on the “Pan-American Unity” mural in 1940.

These samplings, which represent only a fraction of the 3,000 interviews in the Archives’ collection, chronicle the great diversity of the American scene, augmenting and refining our perception of individual artists, dealers, critics and curators and their social worlds. Through the ongoing production of oral history interviews, the Archives continues to collect and preserve the distinct voices and memories of the American art world.

The Archives of American Art’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery is located on the first floor of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Dec. 25. Admission is free.

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