Seeing Differently

The Phillips Collects for a New Century

February 20 - September 12, 2021

In 2021, The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, celebrates its centennial. The museum opened its doors 100 years ago as a memorial to founder Duncan Phillips's father, Duncan Clinch Phillips, and brother, James, who died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Recognizing the healing power of art, Phillips sought to share his “living” collection in a welcoming space and to inspire others to find beauty in the artist's unique way of seeing the world. Building on this founding principle, Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century at once commemorates the museum’s centennial and launches its next vibrant chapter.

Drawn from its growing collection of over 4,700 works, Seeing Differently will highlight over 200 works by artists from the 19th century to the present, including paintings, works on paper, prints, photographs, sculptures, quilts, and videos. Spread throughout the entire museum, the exhibition will explore the complexities of our ever-changing world through themes of identity, history, place, and the senses.

Seeing Differently marks the first major celebration of the museum’s permanent collection in over 10 years. Guided by Duncan Phillips’s belief in the universal language of art as a unifying force for social change, the exhibition will present dynamic, engaging juxtapositions that connect artists past and present across national, racial, and gender lines.

Seeing Differently is accompanied by a major exhibition catalogue (The Phillips Collection in association with Giles, 2021) and a multitude of interdisciplinary programs.

Seeing Differently: The Philips Collects for a New Century is organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.

The presentation of the exhibition and its publication are generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.




Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.





With support from The Phillips Collection’s Exhibitions Endowment Fund, which is generously supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, Robert and Debra Drumheller, and The Marion F. Goldin Charitable Fund; and from the Frauke and Willem de Looper Charitable Fund.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.