Eye Level

Eye Level is the blog of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery. Publishing behind-the-scenes museum stories since 2005.

  • The Renwick’s New Touch Cart is a Work of Art

    Being invited to touch objects in a museum is a rare and thrilling experience. Renwick visitors will now have the opportunity to explore tactile connections thanks to a new mobile touch cart.
    Phoebe on February 12, 2018

Submit your work for SAAM Arcade 2018: Game on!

It’s that time again! The Smithsonian American Art Museum is inviting all independent video game developers to submit their work to the museum's fourth annual SAAM Arcade. This program is part of the museum's ongoing commitment to the study and interpretation of video games as part of the national visual culture. We believe video games inspire interaction between players and creators and offer a compelling performance space, activated by artists and players alike. Our groundbreaking exhibition, The Art of Video Games (2012), was one of the first to explore the evolution of video games as an artistic medium.
Lauren on February 6, 2018

Two Artists, One Vision: Kara Walker and Spike Lee

Kara Walker’s series Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), currently on view at SAAM through March 11, and Spike Lee’s 2000 film Bamboozled, are two great examples of how art has the power to tackle sensitive and important matters. Although these works are very different, they discuss the same things: history, race, gender, and stereotypes.
Ryan on February 2, 2018

Wendell Castle: Timeless

Master woodworker, furniture maker, and artist Wendell Castle died on January 20, at the age of 85. During his long and illustrious career, he helped define and redefine craft furniture in America.

Seeing Star Wars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...some museum nerds kept seeing Star Wars connections in the artworks.
Sara on December 15, 2017

Drawn to the City: Tamayo in New York

New York City sparked Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's imagination during his early visits in the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, Manhattan was a burgeoning new hub for the art world that welcomed artists from all over and supported cross-cultural exchanges. 

Stranger Things

It has been a bumper season for eerie exhibitions at SAAM and the Renwick Gallery.
Sara on October 31, 2017

Fall Movies at SAAM

Movies at SAAM invites you to screenings of two extraordinary documentaries that explore the craft and philosophy of the 1970s New York art world.
Ryan on October 27, 2017

Rick Araluce: Tunnel Vision

You step out onto the edge of the platform and you wait. You look towards the end of the tunnel and see lights flicker in the distance and the rumblings of what sound like a train approaching. But how far away is it?

Murder Is Her Hobby Opens at the Renwick

Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death takes a look at the godmother of forensics who combined art, craft, and criminology.
Howard on October 20, 2017

Kara Walker: Dark Shadows of History

For over two decades, African American artist Kara Walker has been making work that weaves together imagery from the antebellum South, the brutality of slavery, and racist stereotypes. Walker, one of the most prominent artists working today, emerged in the mid-1990s with incendiary, provocative works set in the past but that were very much about the present.
Sarah on October 13, 2017

From the Director: A Banner Year at SAAM

As SAAM's new director, the opportunity to select banners that reflect the amazing strength and diversity of our collections was a treat. The banners help reflect on the outside the treasures on the inside of our building.
SAAM on October 10, 2017

Beyond the Studio Workshops

The Luce Foundation Center celebrates the art that we find in everyday life with Beyond the Studio Workshops. This new series will connect visitors with local professionals working in the arts and provide insight into the creative processes of local applied artists.
Anne on October 6, 2017