DC at Night

DC at Night

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Smithsonian Sunday: The History of America's Hucksters

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most treasured and visited places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry that initially appeared in one of those highly-readable blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.


In 1962 Andy Warhol transformed cardboard Brillo grocery cartons into plywood and silkscreened replications that became art. Was he making a resonant cultural statement, or was he working his own playful con?Warhol, a leading commercial artist, embraced Madison Avenue’s love of ambiguity and reconfigured it as art in the early 1960s. He understood the world where commercial images blurred the line between necessity and desire, between real and replicated. His was the age of “Is it real, or is it Memorex?”

So the David O. Russell-directed film American Hustle fits right in. The film is emerging as a crowd favorite, having garnered three Golden Globes and ten Academy Award nominations. Loosely-inspired by the 1970s Abscam scandal, an FBI sting operation that snagged several members of Congress accepting bribes, American Hustle and its marvelous cast connects to America’s love affair with confidence men, hucksters and charming rascals.

To continue reading this article detailing a hustle through the history of American husksters with a Smithsonian curator as your guide, click here.

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