Eye Level

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

Pop Goes the Artist: James Rosenquist at SAAM

Interesting what happens when an artist speaks about his/her life and work: you get to see the other side of the canvas. As part of the Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art, James Rosenquist, an artist on the Pop scene since the 1960s, spoke to an standing-room only house at SAAM on 11.28.

Applying Comics

Bernice Ellis Lunder entered the Comics Quilt, featuring forty-nine characters from the funny papers, in a quilt context.
Jeff on November 27, 2007

Different Strokes: Helen Frankenthaler

I plan to make this post the first in a series on technique and medium. Paint. The stuff that gets under the artist’s fingernails, and can barely be scrubbed away. I love paint. I love color. I love walking up to a painting and trying to decipher its DNA.


Over ten thousand people (including lots of children) attended our Friends and Family festival marking the opening of the Kogod Courtyard. Eye Level blogged a record eight stories that day (whew!), documented with many photos by us and by others (see our Flickr photostream).
Jeff on November 20, 2007


With the new glass canopy in place, the courtyard itself becomes a place of changing light, in a sense, alive.

Music to My Ears

The courtyard was designed to double as a performance space, and this must have been quite a challenge to the architects.
Jeff on November 18, 2007

Hats Off, Hands On

One of the coolest things going on this afternoon is the area where you can make your own hats. You begin by working with a basic shape of a hat but whatever else you add is really up to your own imagination.

The Sky's the Limit

Museum-Goers Enjoy the Opening of the Kogod Courtyard
Michael Edson on November 18, 2007

Courtyard Buzz

Museum intern Mary Savig spoke with several visitors on their reasons for coming to the grand opening.
Jeff on November 18, 2007

Courtyard Officially Opens!

It's a little after noon on Sunday and the Kogod Courtyard is now open. The sun is shining through the beautiful new glass canopy, and it's the perfect day to spend some time listening to music or create a hands-on project with friends and/or members of your family.

Walk on Water, Please!

Mike wrote about one of the Kogod Courtyard's interesting features, a series of water scrims throughout the enclosure.
Jeff on November 16, 2007

Jenny Holzer: Word on the Street

There was a huge crane outside the museum and a large truck that contained Holzer's For SAAM, her new conceptual site-specific sculpture. The twenty-eight-foot piece was protected by a long crate.

7th Street Shuffle

Hey! What are those people doing? They're walking along Seventh Street in front of the museum. Can they do that?

Michael on October 24, 2007

Designing an Exhibition Gallery

Jeremiah Gallay, one of SAAM’s exhibition designers, recently installed the show Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape in one of our galleries. He writes on how he chose to design the space.
Jeff on October 17, 2007