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John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art 2018, Part 11: Answering the Body’s Question

Terence Washington, program assistant, department of academic programs, National Gallery of Art. In the poem “Joy,” Poet Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith describes the body alternately as memory, as appetite, and as this question: “What do you believe in?” Using works from the Gallery’s collection as examples, Terence Washington, at the second annual John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art held on March 23, 2018 at the National Gallery of Art, considers different ways the body has been framed in American art. How have the nation’s artists articulated responses to the body’s question? What is at stake in the presentation of those answers here, in the nation’s gallery? The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.