One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey

29 June 2018–19 May 2019

Exhibition Overview

joan didion.jpg

Julian Wasser, Joan Didion, 1970. Gelatin silver print.

As part of a series of installations celebrating its golden anniversary, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will present “One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey,” a one-room exhibition that looks back at an extraordinarily important and memorable time in American history. The show relies on some thirty portraits to tell the story of 1968, the year when the Vietnam War reached a turning point, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and television sets displayed everything from the Olympic Games to the first manned orbit of the moon. Memorably, it was also the year that the Portrait Gallery first opened its doors. The subjects featured in the exhibition continue to resonate in our collective memory. Representations of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon will share the walls with portraits of cultural figures such as Peggy Fleming, Arthur Ashe, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Depictions of other significant personalities, notably the Apollo 8 astronauts, will round out the exhibition.

(Photo courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.)

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