Eye Level

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

Eye Level Live!

Tomorrow Eye Level moves its operations from our offices to the museum. We’ll be blogging live throughout the day, documenting the opening for posterity and, of course, for those of you who can’t be here in person. We’ll also be hosting the folks from DCist, who are joining us for the day.
Kriston on June 30, 2006

The View from the Red Carpet

There are just a few staffers who were here in January 2000 when SAAM closed for renovation. I was one of them. July 2006 seemed far away back then —very abstract.
Jeff on June 29, 2006

Pomp and Circumstance

Smithsonian Institution Secretary Larry Small, Smithsonian American Art Museum director Elizabeth Broun, and National Portrait Gallery director Marc Pachter assembled Wednesday for the dedication of the building that houses the two museums: the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture.
Kriston on June 23, 2006

Final Touches: Our Building in Review

We open in just nine days and everything is falling into place. Look behind the scenes at final artwork installations and finishing touches.
Cassandra on June 22, 2006

Architectural Cake Walk

Yesterday, when Smithsonian Secretary Larry Small pronounced Patty Collette’s winning entry a “spectacular creation,” he wasn’t referring to a contest in a medium commonly associated with the visual arts. This was a battle among cakes. Three prominent pastry chefs were invited to the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture to create cakes inspired by the design of the historic building, in celebration of our grand opening July 1st.
Cassandra on June 21, 2006

Luis Jimenez, 1940-2006

Born in El Paso and an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, Jiménez made sculpture that coupled a Pop medium (fiberglass) with traditional Southwestern themes. His work drew from the cultural poles of Mexico City and New York City, both places where he worked and studied, and he was greatly influenced by public artists such as Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. The artist sought to bring Native American, Mexican, and Chicano figures to the fore in works that pay heed to classical sculptural values.
Kriston on June 20, 2006

A Model Gallery

Down the hall from my office is a room full of highly detailed scale models of every SAAM gallery in the museum. The models began taking shape two summers ago.
Michael on June 19, 2006

In Memoriam: Luis Jimenez (1940-2006)

Luis was a close friend to many people here at SAAM and his Vaquero, long installed at our north entrance, is a symbol of the museum.
Michael on June 15, 2006

Grand-Pop Parrish

In your hurry to cut out of work early before Memorial Day, fill up the cooler, and head toward sunnier climes, you might have missed the news about the rather extraordinary sale of Maxfield Parrish’s Daybreak at Christie’s Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture auction.
Kriston on June 7, 2006

Baseball at Night

What can paint on canvas do better than a photograph?
Michael on May 26, 2006

A Sound Take on Craft

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a special project here at SAAM in which Advanced Placement Art History students from the Holton-Arms and Landon Schools here in Washington, D.C. visited our Renwick Gallery of American Craft. Their assignment was to research one of our artworks and produce a podcast about the piece they chose.
Cassandra on May 23, 2006

Machine Love: Sir Norman Foster's Courtyard Canopy

One fine, crisp morning last week, as you were comfy at home reading Time Magazine’s feature on architect Sir Norman Foster, I was outside the museum in my hard hat and steel-toed boots shivering through a stakeout of our own Foster project.
Michael on May 17, 2006