A photograph of Howard Kaplan on a plane.

Howard Kaplan


Blog Posts

  • Splash Image - Patrick Dougherty: Branching Out
    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.
  • Splash Image - Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions
    Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions” Open
    "Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions," opening today at SAAM, is a homecoming for the artist, and the opportunity for us to take a deeper look at Puryear's career.
  • Media - 2015.44.29 - SAAM-2015.44.29_1 - 119241
    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.
  • Media - 2016.14.5 - SAAM-2016.14.5_2 - 129305
    SAAM Acquires Six Major Works by Bill Traylor
    The Smithsonian American Art Museum just acquired several major works by Bill Traylor (ca. 1853–1949), an artist who was born into slavery and first began his creative life as an elderly man, after living and working primarily as a sharecropper.
  • Splash Image - Renwick Gallery: Four WONDER Installations Closing Sunday
    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.
  • Splash Image - WONDER Artist Interview: Jennifer Angus
    WONDER Artist Interview: Jennifer Angus
    Artist Jennifer Angus uses brilliantly colored insects in her thought-provoking installation, In the Midnight Garden, on view through May 8 in the exhibition WONDER. Eye Level had a chance to catch up with Jennifer and ask her about her work, the importance of insects to the natural world, and even to take a peek into her closet.
  • Splash Image - Betsy Broun, SAAM's Director, Announces Her Retirement
    Betsy Broun, SAAM’s Director, Announces Her Retirement
    Elizabeth "Betsy" Broun, who has led SAAM and the Renwick since 1989, is retiring at the end of the year. Her tenure has been marked by groundbreaking exhibitions, digital innovation, new educational opportunities, and a push to broaden our collections of contemporary, folk, self-taught, African American, Latino, and new media arts.
  • Picasso
    When Pablo met SAAM: Picasso and Company on view in Crosscurrents through Sunday
    One of the most frequently asked questions at SAAM's Luce Foundation Center is, "Where are the Picassos?" Usually, our answer is, "We don't have Picassos at American Art. He wasn't an American artist, nor did he ever make art in America." However, for the past few months, we've been singing a slightly different tune, as the exhibition, Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection, contains eighteen paintings and ceramics by the Spanish-born master, considered one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. But you need to hurry: Crosscurrents closes on Sunday, April 10.
  • Media - 2016.26 - 2016.26_1a.jpg - 124930
    Maya Lin: WONDERS of the Natural World
    Maya Lin, whose Folding the Chesapeake, is one of nine room-filling installations in the exhibition WONDER, spoke the other evening in the Renwick's Grand Salon about the three streams of her creative life: art, architecture, and memorials.
  • Splash Image - Gone in a Flash: Irving Penn Closes March 20
    Gone in a Flash: Irving Penn Closes March 20
    "Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty," the first retrospective of Penn's work in more than twenty years, shows a master photographer progressing through the decades and includes some early works that are being shown for the first time. Exhibition closes March 20.
  • Media - 2015.33.37 - SAAM-2015.33.37_1 - 119737
    Nicholas Nixon’s The Brown Sisters
    The museum recently acquired The Brown Sisters, an intimate series of forty photographs that spans four decades and captures the poignancy of family relationships and bonds between siblings.
  • Splash Image - John Grade: Second Nature
    John Grade: Second Nature
    Last Sunday afternoon, Seattle-based artist John Grade spoke to an enthusiastic crowd in the Renwick's Grand Salon about his artworks/earthworks .
  • Splash Image - Irving Penn: Choreographer
    Irving Penn: Choreographer
    When I started to write "photographer" after Irving Penn's name the other day, I actually began to spell the word "choreographer" instead. Hmmm, I thought, that's interesting, maybe I should take a closer look at that. In fact there is something of the choreographer in Penn, in subject matter as well as in composition.
  • Renwick Gallery
    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.
  • Media - 1996.91.34 - SAAM-1996.91.34_1 - 12766
    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.
  • Cordelia
    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.
  • Splash Image - Painting with LED Light at the Renwick
    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.
  • Blog Image 29 - Irving Penn: The Painter's Eye
    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.
  • Splash Image - Chakaia Booker: This is How I Roll
    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.
  • Installation shot of Maya Lin's Folding the Chesapeake for WONDER at the Renwick Gallery.
    Renwick Curator Nicholas Bell on WONDER
    Nicholas Bell, The Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge at the Renwick Gallery, spoke the other day about the exhibition WONDER, what led to its creation, the commonalities and differences among the artists, and how "wonder" has always been a part of the DNA of the museum and the works on view.