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 Wonder: Ten Years of Blogging at SAAM

Ten years ago, November 29, 2005 to be exact, SAAM launched Eye Level, the first museum blog at the Smithsonian. It's given us the ability to tell stories and show people the museum from the inside out.

Luce Artist Talk with Britney Mongold

On Saturday, November 21, local theater prop designer Britney Mongold will visit the Luce Foundation Center to explain her career's trajectory in the latest installment of our Luce Artist Talk series. As a set and prop designer, Mongold works with several theaters across Washington, D.C., including Cultural D.C.'s Source Festival.
Adrienne on November 18, 2015

SAAM's Symposium Charts American Art’s “Shifting Terrain”

On October 16th-17th, over two hundred international participants gathered at the Smithsonian American Art Museum for the symposium "Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History," to reflect upon the increasing globalization of American art history during the past decade and how this affects research on art practice here.
Jeff on November 12, 2015

Art Matters with Lawrence Weschler

As the final speaker in this year's Clarice Smith Lecture Series, noted scholar Lawrence Weschler presented a talk on race relations in the United States, using Ed Kienholz's Five Car Stud as the mirror in which this difficult history is reflected and refracted.

The Renwick Gallery Reopens in a Whole New Light

hough billed as a renovation, I like to think of the reopening of the Renwick Gallery as a reimagining as well. The newly spiffed up Renwick is in mint condition, ready for the next fifty years, or more. In addition to the physical updates that include preserving numerous historical elements with new state-of-the-art infrastructure, the gallery reopens on November 13 with it's inaugural exhibition in our new space, Wonder.

From Paris to Brooklyn: Crosscurrents Between Picasso and Smith

One word that comes to mind when visiting the newly opened exhibition, Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection, is liberation. It's not just one generation breaking from the one before, it's a sense that the modern twentieth century opened a world never before imagined.

Luce Unplugged: Five Questions (plus one) with Jules Hale

If you missed our recent Luce Unplugged, you still have a chance to catch one this fall. Next Thursday, November 5th at 6 p.m. Den-Mate will play a Luce Unplugged set. There will also be a pre-show discussion of the artist's favorite Luce artwork.
Amelia on October 28, 2015

Luce Artist Talk: Erin Curtis

The Luce Foundation Center welcomes artist Erin Curtis on Sunday, October 25th, starting at 1 p.m. for our latest Luce Artist Talk.
Adrienne on October 22, 2015

Irving Penn Retrospective: Everything Clicks

"Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty" is the first museum retrospective of Penn's work in more than twenty years. It opens Friday, October 23 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and runs until March 20, 2016.

Symposium: Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History

On October 16th–17th, the Smithsonian American Art Museum will hold the final event in its five-part series: "The Terra Symposia on American Art in a Global Context." This fall's capstone event, "Shifting Terrain: Mapping a Transnational American Art History," speakers will discuss the transformation of the field over the past decade and suggests future directions for scholarship.
Jeff on October 1, 2015

Hiram Powers' The Greek Slave at The Crystal Palace

Hiram Powers' first marble version of the Greek Slave appeared more lifelike than ever at the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, where it stood on a rotating pedestal under a lavish red canopy that gave the marble a rosy hue. Six million visitors attended this international fair, which took place in London in 1851 in the glass pavilion known as the Crystal Palace. It was the first exhibition of its kind to include a section dedicated to the United States.
Jeff on September 29, 2015

In This Case: Pioneers of the West

Is it possible for a painting to describe two histories? Take a step back in time to both the Oregon Trail and the Great Depression, both periods of unknown adventure, uncertainty, hard times, perseverance, and optimism. What links these two eras together? The answer is Helen Lundeberg's 1934 painting Pioneers of the West, now on display in the museum's Luce Foundation Center.
Ryan on September 23, 2015