Eye Level

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

Making Connections at the Renwick: Everything Clicks

The Renwick's reinstallation of more than eighty objects from its permanent collection—Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery—brings together artists working in media as diverse as vinyl, denim, quartz, and glass.

Romaine Brooks: Body of Work

In honor of the current exhibition "The Art of Romaine Brooks," eminent scholars Cassandra Langer, Sylvia Kahan, and Helen Langa, joined SAAM's chief curator Virginia Mecklenburg, for a discussion that shed new light onto the artist's life and times.

Conserving Duane Hanson's Woman Eating

For a decade, Duane Hanson's life-like sculpture Woman Eating has fascinated SAAM visitors. With funding provided by the Smithsonian's Women's Committee, conservators were able to research, examine, document, and treat this work for future generations to continue to enjoy.

Luce Artist Talk: Five Questions with Anne Bouie

Join us this Saturday, June 25 at 1:30 p.m. for the latest installment of our Luce Artist Talks series. This month's talk features mixed-media artist Anne Bouie, who strives to "express the universal themes of order, harmony, growth, beauty, and transcendence" in her work.

Romaine Brooks: Gray Matters

The paintings of Romaine Brooks have always made me want to learn more about the artist. The exhibition, "The Art of Romaine Brooks" has some answers.

Throwback Thursday: Seats of Power (and an Occasional Settee)

It's Throwback Thursday! And we at Eye Level have decided it's a great opportunity to bring back some of our interesting posts from the past. With the presidential election in full swing, we thought you might be interested in seeing some of the decorative arts our next President might encounter in the White House.

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (6)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM, was recently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo’s lengthy residence and production in New York City. This is the sixth and final post Carmen scribed from the road. The exhibition Tamayo: The New York Years will open at SAAM in October 2017. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.

SAAM's Summer Film Series About Artists

What do artists Johannes Vermeer, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Frida Kahlo all have in common? They are all featured in this summer's artist film program at SAAM.
Ryan on June 2, 2016

Patrick Dougherty: Branching Out

"Everything you can do with a pencil you can do with a stick," artist Patrick Dougherty remarked the other evening at a talk in the Renwick's Grand Salon, as he likened his craft to the art of drawing.

Seeing Things (16): Time and the Photographic Image

Photography has a way with time. Two works of art, both photographic series currently on view, speak to each other in a poignant dialogue without words. In the Lincoln Gallery, on SAAM's third floor, Nicholas Nixon's The Brown Sisters can be seen on the wall adjacent to Camilo José Vergara's series 10828 S. Avalon Blvd., LA, a work whose compression is echoed in the title's insistence on abbreviations.

May's Handi-Hour at the Renwick

For May's Handi-hour at the Renwick Gallery you'll start by making your own loom using scrap cardboard from all those Amazon boxes you have lying around.

SAAM Acquires Six Major Works by Bill Traylor

The Smithsonian American Art Museum just acquired six major works by Bill Traylor, an artist who was born into slavery around 1853-54, and first began his creative life as an elderly man, after living and working primarily as a sharecropper.

Luce Unplugged: 5 Questions (Plus One) with Beauty Pill

It's time for another Luce Unplugged Community Showcase, and we couldn't be more excited to team up with Washington City Paper to present Beauty Pill, next Friday, May 20th from 6 to 8 p.m. If you aren't familiar with this beloved D.C. band, check out their 2015 album Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are.
Amelia on May 12, 2016

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (5)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM was recently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: The New York Years. This is the fifth in a series of posts Carmen scribed from the road. Stay tuned for more updates. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.

Renwick Gallery: Four WONDER Installations Closing Sunday

Like all good things, WONDER, the most talked-about, Instagrammed, and wondrous exhibition is nearing the end of its record-breaking run. Sunday, May 8, is your last chance to see four installations on the second floor—Maya Lin's Folding the Chesapeake, Jennifer Angus' In the Midnight Garden, John Grade's Middle Fork, and Chakaia Booker's Anonymous Donor.

Luce Artist Talk: Five (plus one) Questions with Brian Davis

Multimedia artist and sculptor Brian Davis rounds out this spring's Luce Artist Talks series on Saturday, May 7 at 1:30 p.m. The Luce Artist Talks series brings in local artists to discuss their current projects in relation to the objects on view in our Luce Foundation Center. Davis will speak about his most recent project, Try and Try Again, which combines projected images, ping pong balls, and visitor participation. This series is presented in collaboration with CulturalDC's Flashpoint Gallery.

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (4)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM was recently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: The New York Years. This is the fourth in a series of posts Carmen scribed from the road. Stay tuned for more updates. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.