A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.

Howard Kaplan


Blog Posts

  • A teenage boy packing backpacks
    We’ve Got Your Back…Pack
    How SAAM is helping students stay creative when they can’t visit the museum
  • A photograph of a horse on it's back legs with a man next to it.
    David Levinthal: Toying with the Past?
    Populated with toy cowboys and cavalry, Barbie dolls and baseball players, David Levinthal’s photographs reference iconic images and events that shaped postwar American society.
  • A photograph of an insect costume that has a helmet with antennas and wings on it's back.
    Mom's the Word with artist Tyler Fuqua
    A blog post in honor of Mother's Day, featuring Burning Man artist Tyler Fuqua and his mother talking about his work in "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man."
  • Splash Image - Museum: A Tale of Art, Life and Everything In Between
    Museum: A Tale of Art, Life and Everything In Between
    I'm throwing this one back five years to one of my favorite stories from one of my favorite poets that was originally posted in 2013. It comes with all good wishes from the blog for a wonderful, story-filled, Happy New Year.
  • Figure of man wearing hat and holding pipe in hand with arms raised.
    Between Worlds: The Art of Bill Traylor opens today

    Bill Traylor (ca. 1853–1949) is among the most important American artists of the twentieth century.

  • Installation view of Trevor Paglen's satellite at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
    Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen Now Open
    Installing Trevor Paglen's Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite in the exhibition Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen.
  • A photograph of a figure looking at Requiem for Charleston at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
    On Lava Thomas’s Requiem for Charleston
    The other day, my colleague, Libby, and I walked through the museum in search of an artwork we could talk about. And though each artwork has a story to tell, Lava Thomas's "Requiem for Charleston," the artist's response to the church massacre at Mother Emanuel in 2015, spoke the most to us, in a quietly powerful way (if such a thing is possible).
  • David Best in front of his Temple at the Renwick Gallery.
    The Renwick’s (David) Best Temple 
    David Best creates temples for Burning Man that are made of recycled wood that are ritually burned at the end of the annual festival. In this video Best discusses the Temple he created for the Renwick Gallery’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon, as a sacred space for people to reflect on loss.
  • This is an image of Shumen Lumen, folded mushroom sculptures out in the Nevada Desert.
    Discover the Art of Burning Man at the Renwick
    "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" brings the large-scale, participatory work from this desert gathering to the nation’s capital for the first time.
  • This is a photo inside the Renwick Gallery of artist Wendell Castle standing next to "Ghost Clock"
    Wendell Castle: Timeless
    Master woodworker, furniture maker, and artist Wendell Castle died on January 20, at the age of 85. During his long and illustrious career, he helped define and redefine craft furniture in America.
  • Burning Man, a fish-shaped work of art on the Playa
    Feel the Burn: The Art of Burning Man comes to the Renwick in March

    Eye Level spoke with Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, to learn more about her upcoming exhibition No Spectat

  • Oil on canvas of a New York skyline from a terrace.
    In Harmony: Artist Rufino Tamayo and Composer Carlos Chávez 

    Carlos Chávez was Mexico’s most important composer of the twentieth century, as well as a conductor, theorist, educator, and founder of the Mexican Symphony Orchestra.

  • Gouache on paper of a carnival.
    Drawn to the City: Tamayo in New York 
    New York City sparked Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's imagination during his early visits in the 1920s and 1930s. At the time, Manhattan was a burgeoning new hub for the art world that welcomed artists from all over and supported cross-cultural exchanges. 
  • Photo of a table with paper drawings, a hammer, and other tools.
    Rick Araluce: Tunnel Vision
    You step out onto the edge of the platform and you wait. You look towards the end of the tunnel and see lights flicker in the distance and the rumblings of what sound like a train approaching. But how far away is it?
  • A photograph of a nutshell study of unexplained death showing a woman's death inside a parlor.
    Murder Is Her Hobby Opens at the Renwick
    Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death takes a look at the godmother of forensics who combined art, craft, and criminology.
  • A sepia toned photograph of Thomas Wilfred sitting at a machine called a Clavilux, which he toured the country with creating art.
    Lumia: The Art of Light
    Beginning in the 1920s and into the next few decades, Thomas Wilfred was something of an art-world star, having fused modern art and pre-digital technology to create his luminous works.
  • Splash Image - Parallax Gap: Building a Drawing
    Parallax Gap: Building a Drawing
    Helen B. Bechtel, independent curator and coordinator of the installation, Parallax Gap, fills us in on the relationship between architecture and American craft. Parallax Gap remains on display at the Renwick Gallery through February 11, 2018.
  • Splash Image - Peter Voulkos: Breaking with Tradition
    Peter Voulkos: Breaking with Tradition
    On view in our current exhibition at the Renwick Gallery, Peter Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years, are three of the artist's large-scale paintings: Blue Remington, Red Through Black #3, and Falling Red. Some people may be surprised to find paintings in Voulkos' oeuvre, but that's what makes their discovery (at least for me) all the more exciting.
  • Splash Image - Mind the Gap: Parallax Gap Now Open at the Renwick Gallery
    Mind the Gap: Parallax Gap Now Open at the Renwick Gallery
    Parallax Gap, an architecturally-inspired work now on view at SAAM's Renwick Gallery is suspended from the ceiling of the Grand Salon and runs the length of the room.
  • Splash Image - A Photographer and a Writer Walk into a Museum
    A Photographer and a Writer Walk into a Museum
    The other day, in my quest to look at works of art with fresh eyes, I asked a colleague to join me (that's one way to get new eyes) in a walk through the museum, and let me know what spoke to him.