Howard

Blog Posts

SAAM Acquires Six Major Works by Bill Traylor

The Smithsonian American Art Museum just acquired six major works by Bill Traylor, an artist who was born into slavery around 1853-54, and first began his creative life as an elderly man, after living and working primarily as a sharecropper.

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (5)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM was recently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: The New York Years. This is the fifth in a series of posts Carmen scribed from the road. Stay tuned for more updates. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.

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.

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (4)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM was recently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: The New York Years. This is the fourth in a series of posts Carmen scribed from the road. Stay tuned for more updates. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.

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.

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.

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (3)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM is currently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: the New York Years. This is Carmen's third post from Mexico. Stay tuned for more updates from the road.
E. Carmen Ramos on April 14, 2016

Curator's Travel Journal: In Rufino Tamayo's Footsteps (2)

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino Art at SAAM is currently in Mexico to research her upcoming exhibition on the acclaimed 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo's lengthy residence and production in New York City, Tamayo: the New York Years. This is Carmen's second post from Mexico. Stay tuned for more updates from the road. Read all of Carmen's notes from her research trip.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .

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.

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.

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.

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.