Eye Level

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

Art Conservation: Stretching a Very Large Gene Davis Painting

As often as art conservators do a standard treatment on a work of art in our collection, there is always an opportunity to learn a new approach to solving a challenging task. In the case of Gene Davis: Hot Beat (closing April 2, 2017), paintings conservator Amber Kerr coordinated with staff members from our design and registrar teams to manage the conservation treatments for several extremely large canvas paintings. Each had been rolled in storage for years.

Martha Graham and Isamu Noguchi: Cave of the Heart Dance Performance

Over the course of half a century, Noguchi and Graham closely collaborated on numerous set designs for her groundbreaking modern dances. They held each other in the highest regard—Noguchi once said, "I felt that I was an extension of Martha and that she was an extension of me," while Graham described sharing "an unspoken language" with the sculptor.
Jeff on March 15, 2017

Movies at SAAM Continues This Spring

From March to May, "Movies at SAAM" will screen five eye-opening films about American art. All films will be shown on selected Saturdays at the museum's McEvoy Auditorium, beginning at 3 p.m.
Ryan on March 9, 2017

Luce Unplugged: Five Questions (+2) with The Galaxy Electric

On March 9 from 5:30-7 p.m, The Galaxy Electric, a psychedelic pop band filled with bossa nova and tribal rhythms, will play at the Luce Foundation Center's Luce Unplugged. In partnership with D.C. Music Download, this free, monthly concert series features the best of D.C.'s local music scene.

A Healing Machine for the Elementary School Classroom

If you have visited SAAM's folk and self-taught art galleries since they re-opened in October, you probably encountered Emery Blagdon's wondrous Healing Machine, an installation of individual paintings and found-material sculptures suspended from the ceiling. While many museum visitors are moved by The Healing Machine, Blagdon's work found a new life this winter in an elementary school about two miles from the SAAM.

Can You Name #5WomenArtists?

It all began with a challenge, exactly one year ago. The National Museum of Women in the Arts posed a question and the goal was simple: get people talking about women artists.
Amy on March 1, 2017

Luce Artist Talk: Five Questions (+2) with Sparkplug Collective

Each month, the Luce Foundation Center partners with neighboring Flashpoint Gallery to bring local artists to speak about their artwork and how it relates to SAAM's collection. This Sunday, we welcome Sparkplug Collective, eight local artists from the D.C. Arts Center, to discuss how collaboration and continued education help local artists thrive.

Missed Connections for Valentine's Day

At SAAM, we're always connecting people with our artworks. On Valentine's Day, we thought we'd explore one of the more interesting sections of many print and online publications these days: the often poetic, always interesting urban haiku of missed connections. Please check out our Instagram feed for more artful missed connections.

An Evening with Lonnie Holley

Our Luce Unplugged series has been pairing art and music together since 2010. Typically highlighting the work of local musicians, we're excited to present a special pop-up performance with visiting artist Lonnie Holley at the Luce Foundation Center on Friday, February 10, from 5:30-7 p.m. Join us for an art talk and music concert!

Harlem Heroes and Black History Month

The cultural efflorescence that was the Harlem Renaissance is captured in a series of portraits currently on view in the exhibition Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten.

Celebrating the Year of the Rooster at SAAM

This year, SAAM was delighted to host our annual celebration of the Chinese New Year on the first day of the year, Saturday, January 28. So many friends and families (all 7,000 of you!) turned out to enjoy the activities and performances in the Kogod Courtyard.

Stephanie Stebich Appointed New SAAM Director

Stephanie Stebich, executive director of the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Wash., since 2005, has been named The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, effective April 3.
Jeff on January 24, 2017

Seeing Things (17): Art and Healing

This is the seventeenth in a series of personal observations about how people experience and explore museums. Take a look at Howard's other blog posts about seeing things in a museum.