The Smithsonian Archives of American Art Announces “Artist-to-Art: In Conversation with History”


The Archives of American Art has announced “Between Artists: In Conversation with History,” a six-episode series from its podcast ARTiculated: Dispatches from the Archives of American Art. This special series features meaningful intergenerational dialogues between artists of the present and voices of the past. Each of the six upcoming episodes will be hosted by and feature contemporary artists Nanibah Chacon, Maia Cruz Palileo, Mari Hernandez, Carolyn Lazard, Dionne Lee and Lehuauakea. During their respective episodes, each artist will engage in oral histories from the Archives of American Art collection and examine the fundamental and unseen influences these interviews have on their own work. The first episode of the series will be released on July 28 and is titled “Weaving and Shaping Indigenous Art Today: Balancing the Contemporary and the Traditional.” The remaining episodes will air on the fourth Thursday of each month until December 29.

This series brings together contemporary artists with the history of visual art in the United States, fostering awareness, connection, and critical listening across the spectrum of the American experience. The episodes reveal new and hidden connections between well-known and lesser-known artists, expanding historical narratives with voices beyond traditional canons.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to invite deep engagement with the big questions at the heart of the Archives, from what constitutes influence to who has a voice in American art history,” said Ben Gillespie, l oral historian at the Archives of American Art. “These episodes offer an array of investigations into the powers of oral history, and we are so grateful to these artists for their research, insight and curiosity in bringing these stories to light.”

The Archives of American Art promotes and provides access to the largest collection of oral histories associated with the visual arts in America, encouraging further study by scholars, students, and the culturally curious. The Artist-to-Artist: In Conversation with History series provides space for new voices to engage deeply with artists’ interviews recorded years ago.

ARTiculated: Dispatches from the American Art Archive is supported by the Alice L. Walton Foundation. The six-episode special series, “Between Artists: In Conversation with History,” is supported in part by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Participating artists

Nanibah Chacon
Nanibah “Nani” Chacon is a recognized painter and muralist. Her most notable works are in the public arts sector, in which she has a cumulative experience of over 20 years, spanning graffiti, public murals, community art and installation. In 2012, she moved from studio painting to creating large-scale murals and installations and public works. A return to working on walls and in a public place was a natural progression – it facilitates the content of her work and her personal philosophy that art should be accessible and a meaningful catalyst for social change. Community integration of arts and education is also a key element of the work created by Chacon. Her work has been recognized for its unique style and attention to site specificity and integration of socio-political issues affecting humanity, with particular emphasis on women and indigenous peoples.

Maia Cruz Palileo
Maia Cruz Palileo is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. Migration and the permeable concept of home are constant themes in Palileo’s paintings, installations, sculptures and drawings. Influenced by family oral histories of migration to the United States from the Philippines as well as the disturbing colonial history between the two countries, Palileo imbues these narratives using both memory and imagination. When stories and memories are subjected to time and constant narration, the narratives become questionable, bordering fact and fiction, while remaining masked by a compelling familiar.

Mari Hernandez
Mari Hernandez is a multidisciplinary artist. A career in non-profit arts organizations has led her to explore socially engaged and identity-based art, as well as its contributions to human and community development. Simultaneously, Hernandez grew concerned about the lack of representation of women of color in her arts community in San Antonio, Texas. These experiences profoundly influenced his artistic development.

Inspired by appearance-altering photographers and early Mexican American artists, Hernandez began experimenting with self-portraiture to answer questions about identity. As co-founder of Chicana art collective Mas Rudas (2009-2015), her self-portraits focused on Chicana aesthetics. His solo practice is guided by these early influences, but Hernandez continues to expand his repertoire and skill base.

caroline lazard
Carolyn Lazard says they’re “whatever artists work in media blah blah about such n [sic] such ideas/things [sic]. Their work lalalalas [sic] the whozits [sic]. Lazard went to liberal arts college n [sic] is genealogical in the following ways from the following institutions. They are currently working on whatever [sic] nonsense to come.

Dionne Lee
Dionne Lee works in photography, collage and video to explore issues of power, survival and personal history in relation to the American landscape.

She earned her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2017 and has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; New Orleans Art Museum; Aperture Foundation, New York; Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh; et al., Oakland, CA; and the San Francisco Arts Commission, among others. Lee is a 2022 Artist-in-Residence at Chinati Foundation and Unseen California.

Lehuauakea is an interdisciplinary Hawaiian mixed māhū artist and kapa maker from Pāpaʻikou on Moku O Keawe, the Big Island of Hawaii. The Kānaka Maoli family of Lehua descends from several lineages related to Maui, Kauaʻi, Kohala and Hāmākua where their family resides to this day.

Through a range of artisanal media, their art serves as a means to explore cultural and biological ecologies, spectra of indigeneity, and what it means to live within the context of contemporary environmental degradation. With particular emphasis on the labor-intensive manufacture of ʻohe kāpala (carved bamboo printing tools), kapa (bark cloth) and natural pigments, Lehuauakea is able to give a breathe new life into patterns and traditions that have been practiced for generations. Through these acts of resilience that help forge deeper relationships with ʻāina, this native way of storytelling continues into the future.

Calendar of episodes of the series “Between artists”

July 28: Episode 7 is hosted by Lehuauakea, “Weaving and Shaping Indigenous Art Today: Balancing the Contemporary and the Traditional”
August 25: Episode 8
September 29: Episode 9
October 27: Episode 10
November 23: Episode 11
December 29: Episode 12

About ARTiculé: Dispatches from the American Art Archive

Launched in August 2021, Speak clearly, explores the breadth and depth of the Archives’ oral history collection with the context of today’s scholars and artists. Since 1958, the Archives of American Art’s oral history program has preserved the distinct voices and human memory of the American art world in more than 2,500 interviews. ARTiculated: Dispatches from the American Art Archive is inspired by these celebrity and forgotten interviews, featuring testimonials from artists, dealers, writers and other key figures in dialogue with today’s thought leaders. Speak clearly is supported by the Alice L. Walton Foundation. Click here to listen to the podcast.

About the Archives of American Art

Founded in 1954, the Archives of American Art encourages advanced research through the accumulation and dissemination of primary sources of unparalleled historical depth and breadth that document more than 200 years of artists and art communities across the country. The Archives provide access to these documents through its two research, exhibition and publication centres, including the American Art Journal Archive, the oldest scholarly journal in the field of American art. An international leader in the digitization of archive collections, the Archives also provides nearly 3 million images for free access online. The oral history collection includes more than 2,500 audio interviews, the largest accumulation of in-depth first-person accounts in the American art world. Visit the Archives website at

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