Special Exhibitions

Beyond BollywoodBeyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation
Through July 12, 2015

From the builders of some of America’s earliest railroads and farms to Civil Rights pioneers to digital technology entrepreneurs, Indian Americans have long been an inextricable part of American life. “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” explores the Indian American experience and the community’s vital political, professional, and cultural contributions to American life and history. The exhibition moves past pop-culture stereotypes of Indian Americans to explore the heritage, daily experience, and diverse contributions of Indian immigrants and their descendants in the United States. Weaving together stories of individual achievement and collective struggle, Beyond Bollywood uses photography, narrative, multimedia, and interactive stations to tell a uniquely American story, while conveying the texture, vibrancy, and vitality of Indian American communities.

searchBeyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation was created by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Indian ArtIndian Art: Tradition and Transition
Through July 12, 2015

This installation of 20th-century paintings by Indian artists explores the concept of abstraction as a vehicle for moving beyond culture through style, color, and form.

Fabric of IndiaFabric of India
Through August 15, 2015

Brilliant saris, shawls, and accessories in a profusion of colors and patterns will be the highlights of this exhibition. They include rich gold and silver brocades, intricately hand woven and tie-dyed silks, luxurious velvet and lace, gossamer cottons, and beautifully patterned embroideries.

Leviant's EnigmaNow You See it: The Art of Magic and Illusion
Through August 15, 2015

Illusions are surprising and intriguing. They distort our senses and mystify our logical thinking. This mind bending exhibition explores how the human mind can be fooled through optical illusions, a magician’s sleight of hand, and an artist’s distortion of perspective. Hands-on, interactive stations will invite visitors to test the boundaries of clarity and confusion.

Artists, magicians, and illusionists have been tricking the human eye for centuries. From the trompe l’oeil paintings of the Baroque period, to the Op-Art illusions of the 20th century, artists have distorted the viewer’s perception to create masterpieces of illusion. Magicians, using “sleight of hand” in the same way artists use hue, value, and perspective, have delighted spectators with seemingly impossible tricks. Similarly, contemporary illusionists have harnessed technology and animation to augment reality in logically defying ways. This exhibition will invite visitors to explore how these visual stunts distort perception.

Related Programs

Victorian Family Festival, Saturday, July 11
Magic Camp, July 13 – 17

Image:  Leviant’s Enigma. This illusion is based on the painting “Enigma,” by Isia Leviant, 1984. Stare at the center magenta disk and you will see faint dots swirling around the purple circles. They can suddenly change direction, too. French artist Isia Leviant created this image in 1984, after being influenced by the Mackay Effect.

Through August 15, 2015

The Nikon International Small World Competition first began in 1974 as a means to recognize and applaud the efforts of those involved with photography through the light microscope. Since then, Small World has become a leading showcase for photomicrographers from the widest array of scientific disciplines. This exhibit features twenty images from the winning submissions of the year.

Through October 18, 2015

During the heyday of mechanical musical instruments, New Jersey manufacturers were located in diverse communities such as Jersey City, Garwood, Rahway, Bradley Beach, Hoboken and West Orange. Explore the nation’s desire for music on demand, and how New Jersey manufacturers met that need.

Related Programs

New Jersey Music Makers, July 16

Image: Olympia 15-1/2″ Disc Music Box, c1898-1900, F.G. Otto & Sons, Jersey City, NJ, 2003.18.183a-c

al green pottery websitePottery by Albert Green

For more than fifty years until his death in 1994, Albert Green produced works of genius that continue to influence the ceramic world today. Through years of experimentation and study, Albert was able to teach himself the intricacies of clay and glazes.  Simple utilitarian forms – the bowl, the bottle, the plate – became Albert’s canvases, allowing him to concentrate on the interplay of color and design which graces the surface of every piece.