Howard

Blog Posts

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Trevor Paglen: Surveillance in Life and Art

Artist Trevor Paglen spoke last week in the Clarice Smith Distinguished Lecture Series, and said his goal as an artist is to “help us see the historical moment we live in.” Paglen made a case that this is true for all art over time, no matter the time period, and showed examples from Turner to Rothko, leading up to present times.
Howard on September 17, 2015

Watch This: Write as Rain

Text Rain, the video work from 1999, by Romy Achituv and Camille Utterback is featured in the current exhibition, Watch This! Revelations in Media Art, which remains on view at SAAM through September 7.