American Moments Photo Contest Winner

Congratulations to Bella Kirchner, winner of the American Moments photo contest! Bella’s picture and caption capture an American moment in the 21st century beautifully. Stop by the August Phillips after 5 to mail a postcard featuring Summer Vacation. Ingram, TX. Thanks for your thoughtful submission, Bella! Check back soon for an announcement of the five photo contest honorable mentions.

WINNER_Bella Kirchner_Summer Vacation Ingram, TX

Photo: Bella Kirchner

Summer Vacation. Ingram, TX. by Bella Kirchner
This was a candid shot of my niece and son playing with stickers at some cabins we were staying at in Ingram, Texas this summer. To me, this photo epitomizes the American Moment of a summer vacation: wet hair from swimming, a bathing suit as the day’s outfit, towels drying in the background, being silly with your cousin.


Title This! Where Are We?

Harry Callahan, Untitled, between 1972 and 1975. Gelatin silver print 8 x 10 in.; 20.32 x 25.4 cm. Gift of Fern M. Schad, 2005.

Harry Callahan, Untitled, between 1972 and 1975. Gelatin silver print 8 x 10 in. The Phillips Collection, Washingotn, DC. Gift of Fern M. Schad, 2005.

Our Title This! in-gallery interactive in the American Moments exhibition, which asks visitors to title an untitled photograph by Harry Callahan, has received hundreds of responses. Several visitors recall specific locations throughout the American landscape:

Reading, PA (Becky Weidner)

Dunes, Santa Monica (Bill)

Sand Dunes, Plum Island (Drew from Washington, DC)

The Cape, MA (Gertrude Friedman from Arlington, VA)

Looks like Michigan (Kelsey from Ann Arbor, MI)


Does the photograph remind you of someplace you’ve been? Let us know via social media with #AmericanMoments.

Deconstructing Lawrence’s Struggle Series: Panel 24

This spring, former Phillips curator Beth Turner taught an undergraduate practicum at the University of Virginia focusing on Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle series. In this multi-part blog series, responses from Turner’s students in reference to individual works from the series will be posted each week.

Struggle_Panel 24

Jacob Lawrence, Struggle … From the History of the American People, no. 24: Of the Senate House, the President’s Palace, the barracks, the dockyard…nothing could be seen except heaps of smoking ruins…—A British Officer at Washington, 1814 (Burning of Washington DC August 24, 1814), 1956. Egg tempera on hardboard, 16 x 12 in. Private Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. © 2015 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Of the Senate House, the President’s Palace, the barracks, the dockyard… nothing could be seen except heaps of smoking ruins– A British officer at Washington, 1814 (1956)

The War of 1812 moved to the capital when British troops arrived in Washington on August 24, 1814, without encountering much resistance. That evening, they began the systematic destruction of all public buildings, including the White House and the Capitol. It was said that the city was swallowed in flames that could be seen miles away.

Lawrence’s depiction of the Burning of Washington focuses on the violence and destruction with the canons firing against a dark, smoke-filled sky. A dash of red dripping from one of the cannons adds to the destructive nature of the scene. Off to the left corner of the panel is the corpse of a small bird, still bleeding. The only indication of what this panel is about comes from the title and the caption, which is a quote from a British soldier’s eyewitness account. This panel was completed in 1956, when the Montgomery bus boycott ended successfully. Prior to this successful conclusion, in February 1956, Martin Luther King’s house was bombed. An analogy can be made between the bombing of King’s house and the destruction of Washington in 1814. King was one of the central figures of the boycott; the bombing of his house with the intention of killing him was a certain attempt to cut off the source of inspirations and support of the African American communities to continue fighting for their rights.

Phuong Nguyen