Eye Level

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

In This Case: Art’s Role Regarding the Sacred

If you have ever visited a centuries-old Roman church or an Islamic mosque, you may have glimpsed the role visual arts play in the beliefs, practices and narratives concerning the sacred. In the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Luce Foundation Center, three pieces of art provide a snapshot of the different ways art has connected individuals and community to spirituality.
on August 10, 2017

Picture This: SAAM Arcade 2017

This past weekend, SAAM celebrated all that is good about video games when it hosted its annual SAAM Arcade. Almost 20,000 attended the two-day event held in the museum's Kogod Courtyard and throughout the museum. This is the third year SAAM has held this event as part of an ongoing initiative to showcase video games as an important part of our visual culture as well as study at the museum.
Jeff on August 8, 2017

A Sense of Place: New Mexico as Seen by Artist Gene Kloss

Gene Kloss felt that immersion in nature was essential to the production of art. Her paintings and etchings were directly informed by nature and she couldn't conceive of making art any other way. "An artist must keep in close contact with nature... in order to produce a significant body of work," she said, and she was prepared to live by her words.
Anne on August 3, 2017

Not in the Fast Lane: Anthony Hernandez's Photographs

SAAM's current photography exhibition Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography, explores the post-World War II changes taking place in cities across the country through the eyes of ten photographers who documented these transformations.
Jeff on July 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday, Nam June Paik: Because Almost All of the Audience is Uninvited

To celebrate Nam June Paik's birthday today, we're reposting former associate curator of film and media art, Michael Mansfield's post about our 2012 exhibition Nam June Paik: Global Visionary. Tonight, to share in the festivities, Barbara London, Yale University's media arts critic and MoMA's former associate curator in the department of media and performance art, will give a talk, "What's Technology Got to Do With It?" The talk starts at 5:30 p.m. in SAAM's MacMillan Education Center and is free.
Jeff on July 20, 2017

SAAM Arcade: Let the Video Games Begin

SAAM is turning into a video game arcade! On Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6, anyone can participate in game building workshops, hear musicians performing music inspired by classic Nintendo and Sega themes, and play more than 100 games.
Amy on July 6, 2017

Movies at SAAM: Summer 2017

Are you looking for something cool and entertaining to do this summer? Look no further! "Movies at SAAM" has got you covered. We're excited to bring you a wonderful lineup of movies and guest speakers that will provide a refreshing look into American art.
Ryan on June 20, 2017

Donald Sultan's Disaster Paintings

Donald Sultan's industrial landscape series depict an array of catastrophes, including forest fires, railway accidents, arsons, and industrial plants exuding toxic plumes. Twelve of these large-scale paintings are now on display at SAAM in the exhibition Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings.

Movies at SAAM: The New York Latino Film Festival

On June 9 and June 10, Movies at SAAM is proud to co-host a two day film festival with the National Portrait Gallery's Taína Caragol, Curator of Latino Art and History, and SAAM's E. Carmen Ramos, Curator of Latino Art.
Ryan on June 1, 2017

Framing the City: Mean Streets and Urban Photography

The exhibition, Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography, takes as its starting point, the response by Latino artists to the "urban crisis," a term that emerged in the 1960s to refer to the changes that were going on in many cities throughout the United States. The exhibition title is inspired by author Piri Thomas, who grew up in El Barrio (aka Spanish Harlem), and captured the decline of the urban environment in his memoir Down These Mean Streets, published in 1967.