Seeing Differently

GBP £39.95



ISBN: 978-1-911282-76-1

360 Pages

280 x 240 mm, (9.5 x 11 in.)

190 colour

In association with The Phillips Collection

February 2021


An expansive collection catalogue that offers a multiplicity of fresh perspectives on recent modern and contemporary art acquisitions in The Phillips Collection.

Top Ten title, Art, Architecture, & Photography, Spring 2021 Announcement, Publisher Weekly

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The Phillips Collection—America’s first museum of modern art—was founded in Washington, DC, in 1921 by Duncan Phillips as a memorial to his father, Duncan Clinch Phillips, and his brother, James, who died in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. Recognizing the healing power of art, Phillips sought to inspire others to “see beautifully as true artists see.” This ground-breaking volume, planned in conjunction with the museum’s centennial, offers an unprecedented breadth of insights and inclusive narratives on the Phillips’s growing art collection from a range of voices, including artists, curators, and critics, who shed light on the museum’s acquisitions since 2000.

Seeing Differently features diverse artistic expressions across wide-ranging media by renowned artists from the 19th to the 21st centuries, including John Akomfrah, Benny Andrews, Esther Bubley, Edgar Degas, Anselm Kiefer, Simone Leigh, and Aimé Mpane. This richly illustrated book includes an opening essay by Phillips director Dorothy Kosinski, artist conversations with John Edmonds, Whitfield Lovell, Alyson Shotz, and the late David C. Driskell, and 11 thematic essays by scholars and practitioners across disciplines. Its over 200 plates feature paintings, sculptures, videos, quilts, prints, and photographs, many with object responses by notable contributors, including artists Anthony Gormley, Sean Scully, Renée Stout, and Jennifer Wen Ma, among others.

Edited by Elsa Smithgall
With a foreword by Dani Levinas and preface and introductory essay by Dorothy Kosinski
Contributions by Jeffreen M. Hayes, Mary Jane Jacob, Fred L. Joiner, Lauren Kroiz, Charmaine A. Nelson, Jeremy Ney, Klaus Ottmann, Kent Mitchell Minturn, Jed Morse, Bruce Nixon, Bridget Riley, et al.

Author biography

Elsa Smithgall is senior curator at The Phillips Collection.

Table of contents

  • Chairman’s Preface
  • Director’s Foreword
  • Introduction by Dorothy Kosinski
  • Prelude: Reflections on Renoir and Luncheon of the Boating Party by Bridget Riley
  • “It is the Color Of Course” by Klaus Ottmann
  • Not the Eye but the Beholder: The Shared Vision of Duncan Phillips and John Dewey by Mary Jane Jacob
  • Artist Conversation with David C. Driskell and Elsa Smithgall
  • Unraveling the Absolute: Painting Music at The Phillips Collection by Jeremy Ney
  • Learning to Look & See by Fred L. Joiner
  • Excelsior and the Contemporary by Kent Mitchell Minturn
  • In the Round: From Drawing to Sculpture by Jed Morse
  • San Francisco Modern: Manuel Neri and Frank Lobdell by Bruce Nixon
  • Physiognomy and a Fisherman: August Sander and Forrest Bess. Some Relations with Nature by Lauren Kroiz
  • Lifting into the Foreground: A Meditation on Joseph Holston’s Charity by Jeffreen M. Hayes
  • Bruce Davidson’s Black Female Sitters by Charmaine A. Nelson
  • Artist conversation with Whitfield Lovell and Elsa Smithgall
  • Rethinking Photography at The Phillips Collection: Looking Back / Looking Forward by Wendy A. Grossman
  • Artist conversation with John Edmonds and Elsa Smithgall
  • Connecting Modern with Contemporary: Intersections at the Phillips by Vesela Sretenovic
  • Artist Conversation with Alyson Shotz and Vesela Sretenovic
  • Plates with Selected Object Entries:
  1. heather ahtone: Benny Andrews, Trail of Tears
  2. Taylor Aldridge: Simone Leigh’s No Face (Crown Heights)
  3. Dominique Baqué: Kiefer Dien blondes Haar, Margarethe
  4. Tina Baum: Larrakitj Poles
  5. Enrique Martinez Celaya:  Forrest Bess, Black Seascape with Moon
  6. Makeba Clay- McArthur Binion, DNA: Black Painting and Gee’s Bend Quilts
  7. Kate Cowcher: Aimé Mpane, Mapasa
  8. Jessica Stafford Davis: Zoe Charlton’s The Country a Wilderness Unsubdued)
  9. Sue Frank: Bice Lazzari, Measures and Signs; Folinsbee, Gray Thaw; Al Held, B/W XII and Pan North V
  10. Antony Gormley: Walker Evans, James Agee
  11. Wendy Grossman, Man Ray, Julius Caesar
  12. Liesbeth Heenk: Howard Hodgkin’s As Time Goes By
  13. Franz W. Kaiser: Karel Appel, Head as a Tree
  14. Raina Lampkins-Fielder: Lucy T. Pettway, Two-sided quilt: blocks and strips and Bricklayer 
  15. Jacqueline Lawton: Michna-Bales, Underground Railroad
  16. Renee Maurer: Esther Bubley, A Child Whose Home Is an Alley Dwelling near the Capitol (1943) and Untitled (Two Boys on a Bench) (1951); Katz, Brisk Day; Louis, Seal; Gilliam, Purple Antelope; Avery, Self-Portrait with Red Tam, Frankenthaler, Canyon;
  17. Jennifer Wen Ma: Jennifer Wen Ma, Brain Storm
  18. Alexander Nemerov: William Christenberry, Church across Cotton, Pickinsville, AL
  19. Nontobeko Ntombela: O’jeikere Hair Styles
  20. Klaus Ottmann: Celaya, The First Kirkegaard; Laib, Wax Room; Lüpertz, Kassandra; Walther, Red Song Formation;
  21. Eliza Rathbone: Degas, La Répétition au foyer de la danse
  22. Ellington Robinson: Whitfield Lovell Kin XXXV
  23. Bernardi Roig: Kiefer, Jacob’s Heavenly Blood Blessed by Axes
  24. Susan Rothenberg: Three Masks (2006) and Dominos Cold (2001)
  25. Sean Scully: Renee Stout, Escape Plan A and Life Lessons (after
  26. Nathaniel Lyons)
  27. Elsa Smithgall: Hale Woodruff, Atlanta Portfolio; Kara Walker, Crest of Pine Mountain where General Polk Fell; Jacob Lawrence, Going Home; David Driskell, Doorway portfolio.
  28. Bosco Sodi: Mark Rothko, Aubade
  29. Vesela Sretenovic: Ellsworth Kelly, Untitled and lithographs; Bosco Sodi, Muro; Zilia Sanchez, Maquinista
  30. Renée Stout: Sean Scully, Day
  31. Lou Stovall: Stovall, Suite for Sergei
  32. Elizabeth Hutton Turner: Calder, Hollow Egg
  33. Jenna Wortham: McArthur Binion, DNA: Black Painting: I
  • Appendix:
  • The Phillips Collection Acquisitions, 2000-2020
  • The Phillips Collection Exhibition History, 2000-2021
  • The Phillips Collection Publication History, 2000-2021
  • Index
  • Contributors
  • Credits