Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery SAAM and its branch museum, the Renwick Gallery, celebrate the extraordinary creativity of artists whose works reflect the American experience.
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The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the nation's first collection of American art, is an unparalleled record of the American experience from the colonial period to today. The Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, features one of the finest collections of American craft in the United States. Welcome to our page! Please feel free to share thoughts about our posts, ask us questions, or tell us about your visit. Find us on other social media sites: www.americanart.si.edu/visit/social_media While on-topic discussion is encouraged, we ask that you express yourself in a civil manner and treat other users with respect. The Smithsonian also monitors and may remove posts consistent with its terms of use, as described at http://si.edu/Termsofuse#user-gen. For our Privacy Policy: http://www.si.edu/Privacy

“I have worked in my studio not envying kings in their splendor; my mind to me was my kingdom and my work more than diam...
03/06/2020
Vinnie Ream's Sappho

“I have worked in my studio not envying kings in their splendor; my mind to me was my kingdom and my work more than diamonds and rubies.”

As a woman trying to find success as a sculptor, Vinnie Ream had to carefully manage her expressions of femininity in order to stay within appropriate behavior for women at the time. Ream’s strategy was to align herself with more traditionally feminine artistic traditions, cultivating a public image that enabled her to be accepted as a female sculptor.

Read more about Ream (and her sculpture of Sappho) ↓

#5WomenArtists #WomenatSAAM

On the artist Vinnie Ream, one of a handful of successful female sculptors in the 19th century, and her sculpture, Sappho, on view at SAAM.

Creating Sparks: groundbreaking director Lizzie Borden on her inspiration for “Born in Flames,” the New York art scene i...
03/05/2020
Creating Sparks: Five Questions with Lizzie Borden

Creating Sparks: groundbreaking director Lizzie Borden on her inspiration for “Born in Flames,” the New York art scene in the late 1970s, and how the film can inspire audiences today ↓ #atSAAM

The groundbreaking director of "Born in Flames" discusses about her work in advance of her talk at SAAM.

“I prefer painting that gives visual as well as spiritual pleasure and presents a sense of balance and harmony. In my vi...
02/27/2020
On Radiant by Felrath Hines

“I prefer painting that gives visual as well as spiritual pleasure and presents a sense of balance and harmony. In my view, an artist's work is to rearrange everyday phenomena so as to enlarge our perception of who we are and what goes on about us.”
SAAM's blog takes a look at the life and work of artist Felrath Hines. ↓ #BHM

Applying countless layers of color gives the artist's work depth and luminosity

Smithsonian
02/26/2020
Smithsonian

Smithsonian

With #SmithsonianOpenAccess, we're inviting everyone around the world not just to experience the wonders of the Smithsonian, but to make those wonders their own.

Read more about the announcement from Smithsonian Magazine and explore millions of digital resources at si.edu/OpenAccess.

Love a good heart/hart pun on #ValentinesDay 🥰Ulysses Davis carved this relief sculpture for his wife. (Aww!) Davis play...
02/14/2020

Love a good heart/hart pun on #ValentinesDay 🥰
Ulysses Davis carved this relief sculpture for his wife. (Aww!) Davis plays with words and form by depicting a hart, or mature male deer, bleating to his mate inside a heart-shaped frame.

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's #RenwickGallery on February 2...
02/14/2020
How Native Women Artists Guided the Creation of Hearts of Our People

Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's #RenwickGallery on February 21.
At the core of this exhibition is a firm belief in the power of the collaborative process. In 2015, exhibition curators Jill Ahlberg Yohe and Teri Greeves (Kiowa Nation) formed the Native Exhibition Advisory Board—a panel of 21 Native artists and Native and non-Native scholars from across North America—to provide insights from a wide range of nations at every step in the curatorial process.

The groundbreaking exhibition at the Renwick features more than 80 works from antiquity to the present

Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed Humboldt to be “one of those wonders of the world”—a superlative difficult to challenge, ...
02/12/2020
Before There Was Beyoncé, There Was Humboldt

Ralph Waldo Emerson proclaimed Humboldt to be “one of those wonders of the world”—a superlative difficult to challenge, given his brilliant mind, extensive writings, ambitious explorations, and immeasurable contributions to humanity and science.

But let's take a step back. Who is Alexander Von Humboldt, and why is he such a superstar?

Meet Alexander von Humboldt, the singular superstar of the 1800s

“I must paint pictures or die.” American artist Maria Oakey Dewing described herself as a “garden-thirsty soul,” and “Ga...
01/29/2020
Consider This Maverick of the Aesthetic Movement

“I must paint pictures or die.” American artist Maria Oakey Dewing described herself as a “garden-thirsty soul,” and “Garden in May,” the largest extant outdoor flower painting by the artist, certainly quenches that thirst, while also offering some food for the soul. As an art student, Maria Oakey Dewing was known as a maverick of the aesthetic movement, an avant-garde thinker and progressive author, one of the most promising painters of her generation.

Explore more stories of women across the Smithsonian: https://womenshistory.si.edu/herstory/art-design

#BecauseOfHerStory

Smithsonian Provost John Davis takes a closer look at the painter Maria Oakey Dewing, who described herself as a "garden-thirsty soul."

“By creating pockets of mystery in the fabric of the everyday, Baldessari’s art leaves space for the viewer, not only to...
01/29/2020
John Baldessari: An Appreciation

“By creating pockets of mystery in the fabric of the everyday, Baldessari’s art leaves space for the viewer, not only to attend to the process of meaning-making in the gallery, but equally in their everyday engagement with a world of images.”

Remembering the influential artist whose video works helped define contemporary art

Happy Lunar New Year! It's the Year of the Rat—and lilies are thought to bring good luck—so here's a flock of blooms to ...
01/25/2020

Happy Lunar New Year! It's the Year of the Rat—and lilies are thought to bring good luck—so here's a flock of blooms to welcome the new year.
#LunarNewYear #LunarNewYearDC #YearoftheRat

We mustache you to:Connect (if your office allows dogs)React (if you want to help me rescue all the cats)Follow (my cat’...
01/24/2020

We mustache you to:
Connect (if your office allows dogs)
React (if you want to help me rescue all the cats)
Follow (my cat’s account #notspon)
Swipe right (if you want to hear my version of “Wonderwall”) ❤️❤️❤️❤️
🐶 Samuel Burtis Baker, “Portrait of Ernest Lee Major,” 1910
🐱 Cecilia Beaux, “Man with the Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker),” 1898
🐱 Foujita, “Man and Cat,”
n.d.
🐶 Stephen James Ferris, “Musician and Dog,” 1893 #dollypartonchallenge

“‘Among the Sierra Nevada, California,’ an 1868 masterpiece by Albert Bierstadt, enjoys its own devotional space at the ...
01/23/2020
Washington Is a Storm, One Piece of Art Can Be Your Anchor

“‘Among the Sierra Nevada, California,’ an 1868 masterpiece by Albert Bierstadt, enjoys its own devotional space at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.”
Do you find refuge in art? Which spaces (or artworks) draw you to them, and why?

Art can be the shelter and the fire. This is a guide for finding it.

“There are so many ways to pull the thread through our collection. It’s learning about who we are as Americans through t...
01/10/2020
With interactive conferences, Smithsonian museum shares its collection with military-connected students around the world

“There are so many ways to pull the thread through our collection. It’s learning about who we are as Americans through the things we have made over hundreds of years.”

With a green screen and some very late nights (4 a.m.!), SAAM educators make connections between American art and lessons about the Civil War, the Great Depression, or the Harlem Renaissance in a program that brings our collections to classrooms on military bases around the world.

The American Art Museum’s education department uses technology to encourage art appreciation in remote classrooms.

SAAM’s curator of time-based media, Saisha Grayson, weighs in on the future of preservation, conservation, and documenta...
01/09/2020
The Video Game Industry Is Over 50: Who's Keeping Track of Its History?

SAAM’s curator of time-based media, Saisha Grayson, weighs in on the future of preservation, conservation, and documentation within the video game industry.

As for SAAM’s collection? “We’re really looking at games where there is an artistic perspective and a sense of significance and impact,” says Grayson. “There is continued interest within our institution for thinking about how we think about this medium within an artistic context.”

Progress on cataloguing influential titles has been halting as major studios fail to lead preservation efforts.

01/07/2020
Smithsonian

SAAM and the Renwick Gallery will close at 3 p.m. today, January 7.

Due to inclement weather, all our D.C.-area museums will close at 3 p.m. today. The @NationalZoo will close at 1 p.m.

How do you remember your loved ones? David Best's “Temple,” a monumental installation at the #RenwickGallery, has provid...
12/27/2019
Saying Goodbye to Artworks by David Best, Ginny Ruffner, and Michael Sherrill

How do you remember your loved ones? David Best's “Temple,” a monumental installation at the #RenwickGallery, has provided a beautiful, contemplative space for visitors to reflect and pay tribute to lost loved ones.
As we say farewell to this contemplative space—and count the final days of this year—we invite you to share your stories of loved ones or hopes for the future. Leave a comment, use #BestRemembrance, or send us a message if you're feeling private. The last day to visit “Temple” is January 5.

Last chance to see three exhibitions at SAAM's Renwick Gallery is January 5, 2020

Merry Christmas! 🦌🦌🦌🎄❄️❄️❄️SAAM and the #RenwickGallery are closed today, December 25. We'll see you tomorrow when we re...
12/25/2019

Merry Christmas!
🦌🦌🦌🎄❄️❄️❄️
SAAM and the #RenwickGallery are closed today, December 25. We'll see you tomorrow when we reopen on December 26.
🦌🦌🦌🎄❄️❄️❄️
Ernest W. Watson, “Christmas Morning,” 1947

As 2019 draws to a close, so do three powerful, magical, and cathartic exhibitions at the Smithsonian American Art Museu...
12/23/2019
Saying Goodbye to Artworks by David Best, Ginny Ruffner, and Michael Sherrill

As 2019 draws to a close, so do three powerful, magical, and cathartic exhibitions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery. David Best’s “Temple,” “Ginny Ruffner: Reforestation of the Imagination,” and “Michael Sherrill Retrospective” are on view through Sunday, January 5, 2020.
Although staff at the Renwick are sorry to see these great exhibitions go, 2020 brings new amazing installations for the public to enjoy.

Your yearly “but when can I visit?” PSA: SAAM and the Renwick Gallery are open 364 days a year. We are closed December 25.

Last chance to see three exhibitions at SAAM's Renwick Gallery is January 5, 2020

Amidst the correspondence, photographs, and ephemera of artist Joseph Cornell’s life, archivist Anna Rimel discovered fo...
12/19/2019
The Lost Kusamas

Amidst the correspondence, photographs, and ephemera of artist Joseph Cornell’s life, archivist Anna Rimel discovered four small watercolors by Yayoi Kusama. These unexpected treasures have now been transferred into SAAM's collection.

Discovering four watercolors by Yayoi Kusama in SAAM's Joseph Cornell Study Center

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterw...
12/12/2019
Ep. 14: Finding Cleopatra

Edmonia Lewis was the first American woman of color to achieve international fame as a sculptor. Her 3,000-pound masterwork, “The Death of Cleopatra,” commemorated another powerful woman who broke with convention…and then the sculpture disappeared!
Follow this mystery and learn more about Edmonia Lewis on the latest episode of the Smithsonian Side Door Podcast #BecauseOfHerStory

Learn more about Ep. 14: Finding Cleopatra

“Where do we look when we want to know who we were in the past, to know where we’re going? We look to art, to the design...
12/04/2019
We Look to Art

“Where do we look when we want to know who we were in the past, to know where we’re going? We look to art, to the design tracks of our material world.”
—Joy Harjo, 2019 United States Poet Laureate

SAAM's director, Stephanie Stebich, looks to art as a way to elevate stories of our shared humanity.

SAAM's director, Stephanie Stebich, looks to art as a way to elevate stories of our shared humanity

What kind of key doesn't open a door? A turkey! 😂Happy Thanksgiving! We challenge you to charm us with your worst/best #...
11/28/2019

What kind of key doesn't open a door?

A turkey! 😂
Happy Thanksgiving! We challenge you to charm us with your worst/best #Thanksgiving humor.

Charles Culver, “Turkey,” n.d.

From the planning and research done by curators to the final wall text and lighting in gallery, the story of how an exhi...
11/27/2019
Behind the Screens: Chiura Obata

From the planning and research done by curators to the final wall text and lighting in gallery, the story of how an exhibition comes to life is made up of many moving parts and fits together like a puzzle.

Follow us behind the scenes (er, screens) for a peek at what went into installing “Chiura Obata: American Modern,” which opened today #atSAAM

Chiura Obata: American Modern contains some of the artist's rarely seen folded screens.

Happy Owl-oween! (Or...if you're more about ghosts*, cats, skulls, and bats, we have you covered.) #HappyHalloween*Ghost...
10/31/2019

Happy Owl-oween!
(Or...if you're more about ghosts*, cats, skulls, and bats, we have you covered.) #HappyHalloween

*Ghost Clocks, that is

As an art student, Maria Oakey Dewing was considered one of the most promising painters of her generation. Dewing descri...
10/28/2019
Consider This Maverick of the Aesthetic Movement

As an art student, Maria Oakey Dewing was considered one of the most promising painters of her generation. Dewing described herself as a “garden-thirsty soul,” and “Garden in May,” the largest extant outdoor flower painting by the artist, certainly quenches that thirst, while also offering some food for the soul.
#BecauseOfHerStory
#atSAAM

Smithsonian Provost John Davis takes a closer look at the painter Maria Oakey Dewing, who described herself as a "garden-thirsty soul."

“As I watched and read news reports about towns without running water and electricity, property damage, scarce resources...
10/21/2019
The Aftermath of Hurricane María

“As I watched and read news reports about towns without running water and electricity, property damage, scarce resources, and sadly the stark human toll of lost lives, I strangely processed the impact of the hurricane though the lens of SAAM’s collection.”
Curator E. Carmen Ramos considers the impact of Hurricane María and its connection to artists in SAAM's collection.

A closer look at the rich and trans-historical Puerto Rican artworks in the museum.

The ceremony unfolded in the museum’s intricately carved wooden temple by David Best, erected last year as a place for r...
10/21/2019
The Smithsonian hosts its first wedding in D.C. — and vows more

The ceremony unfolded in the museum’s intricately carved wooden temple by David Best, erected last year as a place for reflection on loss as part of the “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” exhibition. On this night, the structure had been transformed into a happy place, its walls shimmering under a soft light and electric candles flickering on the temple’s altar. Steven Mazzola and Jeffrey Akman found their perfect wedding venue in the Renwick’s second-floor Grand Salon...a Smithsonian venue seemed just right for the couple, who collect art and are active in the city’s performing arts scene.

“To bring our friends into a space with art felt right to us,” Akman said. “The Renwick was perfect for several reasons. We liked the scale, and the temple was still installed. The art in the upstairs galleries is whimsical, colorful.” #RenwickGallery 💞

The museum’s new events policy led to a local couple’s “perfect” night playing out artfully at the Renwick Gallery.

Artist Lauren Kalman's surprising jewelry raises questions about who gets to decide what makes a body beautiful. #Renwic...
10/18/2019
Back in Bacne

Artist Lauren Kalman's surprising jewelry raises questions about who gets to decide what makes a body beautiful.
#RenwickGallery

Lauren Kalman's challenging work is meant to get under our skin.

“In thinking of Jafa’s video being part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s national collection, I think of what co...
10/08/2019
How Arthur Jafa Created a Contemporary Guernica

“In thinking of Jafa’s video being part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s national collection, I think of what context we might give it, forty years into the future... will we be able to say things have changed for the better?”
SAAM's curator of time-based media examines the importance of a powerful work—named in the The New York Times as one of 25 works that define the contemporary age—that speaks to our times... and times past.

The curator of time-based media examines the importance of a powerful work that speaks to our times...and times past.

Artist David Best's “Temple” for “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” fills the enormous Grand Salon at the Renwick G...
10/07/2019
Burning Man: Through the Fire

Artist David Best's “Temple” for “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” fills the enormous Grand Salon at the Renwick Gallery. Visitors are invited to leave a memorial or testament on a wooden tablet and place it somewhere in the room. But how to incorporate these personal expressions of grief, loss, and hope into the annual event on the Playa? Thousands of these tablets were carefully collected and packed, shipped to Burning Man, and set alight on September 1.

Nearly one ton of hand-written tablets collected at the Renwick Gallery were burned at Burning Man earlier in the month.

Through his photographs, David Levinthal has spun a mythology of the Wild West that believes in itself so deeply that we...
09/20/2019
Dancing with the Spurs: On David Levinthal's Wild West Photographs

Through his photographs, David Levinthal has spun a mythology of the Wild West that believes in itself so deeply that we get tangled up in the story. Ty Murray, a real-life cowboy, deconstructs the myth of the Wild West and actualizes the parts he believes to be true:

“I can vouch that you have to be tough to be a good cowboy. I think cowboys and the settling of the West still represent to people toughness, resilience, individualism, hard work, and honesty. I know that the cowboy code has been my guiding light for my entire life.”

What does the "Cowboy Code" have to do with David Levinthal's photographs?

David Levinthal is a New York–based artist whose photography depicts “the America that never was but always will be.” Am...
09/19/2019
Ep. 6 | Memory, Myths, & Miniatures

David Levinthal is a New York–based artist whose photography depicts “the America that never was but always will be.” American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs explores the distinction between fact and fable.

Explore the exhibition, take a tour with curator Joanna Marsh, and (even better!) hang out #atSAAM after hours with DJ Dan Deacon, Americana-inspired bites, custom cocktails, and more this Friday with Brightest Young Things at our SAAM & BYT Present: End-Of-Summer-Camp party.

Peeking into the second-floor side galleries at SAAM, visitors cannot help but notice a life-size female figure standing...
09/17/2019
On Harriet Whitney Frishmuth's The Vine

Peeking into the second-floor side galleries at SAAM, visitors cannot help but notice a life-size female figure standing on the balls of her feet, projecting her body forward, her head held dramatically backward, all the while in perfect balance, and how she activates the space around her.
Artist Harriet Whitney Frishmuth was born on this day in 1880. In honor of her birthday, recent SAAM predoctoral fellow Clarisse Fava-Piz delves into the artist's dynamic sculpture, "The Vine."

Taking a closer look at an iconic work by the sculptor who was born on September 17, 1880.

Address

800 G St NW
Washington D.C., DC
20004

METRO (American Art): Take the Red, Yellow or Green Line to Galleryplace/Chinatown and use the exit for the galleries METRO (Renwick): The Red, Blue or Orange Line to Farragut North or Farragut West Metro hours, fare information, and maps are available at www.wmata.com. The DC Circulator also serves the museum's Penn Quarter neighborhood. Hours, fare information and maps are available at www.dccirculator.com.

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(202) 633-1000

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Comments

I always love visiting the Renwick. It’s food for the imagination and appreciation for the brilliant artists who create it.
Wondering the date for the Take 5 series this month.
Anyone who was at the Clarice Smith lecture last night and found my coat (brown windbreaker) please let me know. It is very important to me and I would love to get it back.
Do you currently have a Kodi Lee exhibit?
9/11- Father Judge, filmed at the Alpine Fire Station, AZ Painting by Michael Judge Acrylic on steel
The Purpose of Life …is Life Robert Magill Note ( I used logical simplicity a.la Einstein but could not include freedom.) The sole purpose of life, and therefore our only human purpose may simply be, life itself. That, upon reflection, would appear to be almost enough. The life force does have its urges though, lots of them, it would appear. After countless eons of self-replication along came sexual reproduction, life had apparently gotten to be in somewhat more of a hurry. Life then pursued bigger and better forms of itself as mobility, size, vision etc. ensued over time. Vision was unique and a promising end in itself, but life appeared to desire a different platform with which to fully employ this new sense. Many prototypes came and went, and eventually on the scene appeared humankind complete with a newly acquired awareness. Whence came then, this thing, this awareness, this brightness in the void, so cherished by life our very species could be made forfeit to preserve it? Perhaps it was the animal curiosity of some lumbering hominid possessed of sufficient cranial matter that chanced upon a source. The menu of vegetable suspects is quite large. The plants, cacti, mushrooms and vines that possess the chemical soups that have the ability, and perhaps desire to exert themselves aggressively when combined with suitable host brain, is legion. We currently regard these substances as “mind altering” but could they perhaps have been “mind creating” at some remote point in time? Students of psychedelic phenomenon have reported a tendency among this family of substances to exhibit a strong urge to promote its own agenda over the host consciousness at times. Life, in this way, may have introduced the initial spark of awareness in receptive hominid brains with suitable vegetable matter containing psychedelic chemical ingredients. Imagine the wonder this revelation surely produced in a previously unconscious world. The binges and quest for more light shows that followed in the still only partially illuminated minds of these creatures must have been incredible. Perhaps this initial visitation of consciousness onto a receptive human brain and the incredible awakening produced therein is responsible for the ongoing human quest for enlightenment. Our species has demonstrated a universal affinity for various visions, ecstasies and raptures and they have been zealously sought for millennia. Perhaps then, a racial memory of, and longing for a return to that original staggering event gives impetus to the universal spiritual quests we humans faithfully follow to this day Eventually something went wrong between human beings and the life force. . We know large portions of the recent history of our species and it's not very good. Considering our known history, can we begin to significantly amend our ways if life demands a timely accounting? So if and when life decides we have exhausted all possibility of further usefulness, and our excesses overwhelm life's other vital interests, do we then risk severance of the thread with life? Should not we begin to tug ever more gently at this tether to lessen our risk? Does life even care about the fate of us, its creature? Probably not, countless other species have traveled along on life's quest, prospered to a degree and vanished. Will we join them? Of course it is possible life may now be providing itself with a non-life fallback to the dilemma posed by our misuse of awareness and consciousness. If humankind becomes suspect of probable catastrophic losses to many of its other progeny, life then may seek to substitute Artificial Intelligence for flawed human intelligence. We, ourselves, may rapidly be creating the instruments for our future replacement with life's resigned encouragement. Life may value this tediously acquired awareness beyond all measure. More the pity for humankind. These phenomena are unique on the planet; life, the life force and the awareness/consciousness of one primate species. What we regard as ultimate reality is simply the stories we tell ourselves and others combined with whatever actions humans are capable of accomplishing. Humanity must now learn to live with 5 Gigabit technology becoming a reality and should perhaps begin to wonder which future Gigabit number will be the one to provide the artificial intelligence and awareness deemed sufficient by the life force to render human beings redundant if it chooses to do so? Could we, perhaps, amend our behavior? [email protected]
This Sat. 4/6 Auction of One of the Original Founders of the DADA art Movement Family Estate, Richard Huelsenbeck... Highlights Include: Newly Discovered & Unrecorded Sketch by George Grosz. Found in Estate of One of the Original Founders of the Dada movement Richard Huelsenbeck. Selling this piece and others from the Founders family including a large intact Art Portfolio, Richard (Hulbeck) Huelsenbeck Signed Drawing, Newly Discovered Abstract Alice Trumbull Mason, Newly Discovered Abstract Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 2 Pieces of Art by Fritz Kuttner, Fabulous Beate Hulbeck Collage Mid-Century Modern Art, George Grosz & Tom Hulbeck Mentor Portfolio? and so much more! www.TerriPetersAndAssociates.com for complete catalog, prebidding and registration! Absentee & Phone bidding also accepted prior to auction day at 315.447.1656. Feel free to forward to those interested! Best, Terri McGraw Terri Peters & Associates www.TerriPetersAndAssociates.com
It's interesting
Hi. Are the dioramas gone? I was hoping the exhibit would be extended because of the shutdown.
The more I hear about my old stomping ground, SAAM, the more excited I get. Programs in the last few years are a breath of fresh air waiting to happen for a long time.