Smithsonian “FUTURES” To Unveil Five New Commissions by Leading Contemporary Artists

Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Smithsonian “FUTURES” To Unveil Five New Commissions by Leading Contemporary Artists

Visitors can see alternate future worlds as imagined by Beatriz Cortez, Nettrice Gaskins, Soo Sunny Park, Devan Shimoyama, and Tamiko Thiel and /p in their Smithsonian Debuts.

Opening this November, “FUTURES” at the historic Arts and Industries Building (AIB) will explore a myriad of possible futures on the horizon. As its first major commissioning project, AIB will invite five boundary-pushing contemporary artists to create their own speculative future worlds. These major site-specific projects will reflect the milestone occasion and iconic setting, and beguile visitors with a glimpse of the ways in which artists are at the forefront of affecting lasting and positive change.

 “FUTURES” is the first major building-wide exploration of the future on the National Mall and will temporarily reopen America’s oldest national museum for the first time in nearly two decades. The part-exhibition/part-festival will celebrate the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary with more than more than 150 objects, ideas, prototypes, and installations that fuse art, technology, design and history.

Artists Beatriz Cortez, Nettrice Gaskins, Soo Sunny Park, Devan Shimoyama, and the duo Tamiko Thiel and /p (Peter Graf) work in such diverse media as augmented reality, A.I., found objects, and industrial materials, blending their creative practices with deep research into technology, science, and community and cultural histories. Each has been asked to respond to both the building’s historic architecture and a particular future themed section of the exhibition. All are making their Smithsonian debut.

“Artists provide a telescopic view of the human condition, a lens that allows the viewer to step out of themselves,” said AIB curator Ashley Molese. “In ‘FUTURES,’ these brilliant and unfiltered installations will take an abstract concept like ‘the future’ and turn it into a portal of sorts, allowing visitors to transcend their own worldview. We are creating spaces of radical connection.”


“FUTURES” will run through July 2022.

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