John W. Smith


Andy Warhol’s Raid the Icebox exhibition and the many similar museum projects it has spawned throughout the world over the past fifty years allow us to reconsider what storage is and might be. How do we recuperate the lost narratives residing in storage? How do we write new histories? How do objects that have become disassociated from their original contexts acquire fresh lives? How does storage evolve from a problem to be solved to an opportunity for discovery?


John W. Smith was appointed director of the RISD Museum in 2011. Prior to joining the museum, he served as director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art (2006–2011) and director for collections, exhibitions, and research at the Andy Warhol Museum (1994–2006).

I. Raid Revisited

Warhol, the Menils & the RISD Museum

II.  Lasting Legacy

the Forgotten & the Rejected


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This chapter was created under the direction of John W. Smith and accompanies the exhibition Raid the Icebox Now, on view at the RISD Museum September 13, 2019–September 6, 2020. Creative direction by Carolyn Gennari. Design by Brendan Campbell. Additional production support by Carson Evans, Arielle Eisen, Erik Gould, and Jeremy Radtke.