Eye Level

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

Five Questions: Craft in a Different Light

The reopening of the Renwick is cause for celebration: WONDER is setting attendance records and turning visitors into instant Instagrammers. Eye Level recently sat down with Renwick curators Nicholas Bell (The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge) and Nora Atkinson (Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft) to talk about the museum's renovation, the intersection of craft and technology, and what the future holds.

We Remember Collector Teodoro Vidal

Teodoro Vidal, who died last month at the age of 92 in his native Puerto Rico, was a businessman, folklorist, and philanthropist. He was also a collector and self-taught historian, and in the mid-1990s, donated more than half of his collection of 3,346 objects to the Smithsonian.

On Thornton Dial (1928-2016)

The American artist Thornton Dial died on January 25, 2016, at the age of 87. Leslie Umberger, SAAM's curator of folk and self-taught art writes an appreciation about Mr. Dial and his work.
Jeff on February 4, 2016

February's Handi-Hour

February's Handi-hour is sold out, but don't despair! You can get your own private tutoring session with our videos right here. This month we're making string art with map pins, cork boards and embroidery floss.

Seeing Things (15): Looking Through Glass

This is the fifteenth 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.

Painting with LED Light at the Renwick

"Years ago when we started looking at LEDs they just weren't ready for use in museums," says Scott Rosenfeld, lighting director at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery. In 2010, Rosenfeld set out to see what he could learn about LED lighting and apply it to the museum. All lighting within the galleries and public spaces in the recently renovated Renwick was converted to LED after extensive research, testing, and prototype development.

Luce Artist Talk with Jesse Shipley

On Saturday, January 30th tcostume designer Jesse Shipley will visit the Luce Foundation Center to discuss what it's like to see your art as a part of a live performance. This discussion will be the first in in our Luce Artist Talk series for 2016.
Adrienne on January 20, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Our America: The Legacy of a King

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. This Monday we will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Curator E.

Jeff on January 14, 2016

Video Games: SAAM's Indie Arcade

Chris Totten, a professor at American University's Game Lab, coordinator for January 16th's Indie Coast to Coast Competition as part of SAAM's Indie Arcade, and head of the Independent Game Developer's Association (IGDA's) D.C. chapter, recently wrote about the intersection of video games and art.

Irving Penn: The Painter's Eye

Photographer Irving Penn, who died in 2009, and whose work is featured in the current exhibition, Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty, combined fashion, art, and photography to create a style uniquely his own. He not only walked the line between the artistic and the commercial worlds, he led the way.

Luce Unplugged: 5 Questions with Stronger Sex

Join us for the first Luce Unplugged of the year next Thursday, January 14th at 5:30 p.m. Stronger Sex, a beloved local experimental noise-pop band, will kick of the concert series' first show of the year.
Amelia on January 5, 2016

Chakaia Booker: This is How I Roll

On Saturday afternoon, artist Chakaia Booker and curator E. Carmen Ramos spoke in the Renwick Gallery's Grand Salon about Booker's work, process, and Anonymous Donor her sculpture/installation in the current exhibition, WONDER.

New Acquisitions: David Smith Sculpture

SAAM has just announced it is acquiring David Smith’s Agricola IV, a ground-breaking sculpture by one of the country’s most important artists. Agricola IV is a major addition to the museum’s presentation of American art in the twentieth century.
Jeff on December 21, 2015

Luce Unplugged: Five Questions (Plus One) with Nag Champa

Before you leave town for the holidays, get your fix of D.C. music and culture at the next Luce Unplugged, our free local concert series, coming up with Nag Champa on Thursday, December 10th, 6 p.m. Nag Champa are a progressive, beat-driven electronic jazz and R&B group.
Amelia on December 3, 2015