The first gallery on my weekend adventure was the Renwick. I attended with a friend on Saturday morning of the 20th of January 2018, which happened to be the Women’s March. Our accidental timing allowed us to get a chance to experience the March up close. When we stepped outside the street between the Renwick and the White House was packed from sidewalk to sidewalk with people of all ages being politically active. It was quite a sight to behold. Hundreds of signs with funny slogans, chants, and a full drum line filled the streets with civil political action. The only downside was the March kept feeding people into the gallery, but well worth the extra crowd to get to see politics in action.
The gallery itself was quite interesting. We entered into the lobby to be greeted by a staircase with a red carpet flowing like a river down to meet us with an exhibit of shimmering lights over head. At the top of the stairs you find an exhibit of 3 dimensional famous architectural ceilings represented by 2 dimensional pieces to give you a 3 dimensional feel. Each ceiling was cut out of giant pieces of paper to look like an architect would draw them onto paper. These cut out layers of ceiling were then suspended over head and if you stood at just the right vantage point the layers came together to form the famous view of the ceiling you know. It became a game to find the perfect vantage point for each ceiling.
After that we continued through the exhibits. There were many modern pieces which caught my eye. From earthenware which could be mistake for a rusted engine to a marble pillow which looked like it was soft enough to lay your head on. The piece which really caught my attention was a 3D printed version of the “Greek Slave” which is a sculpture I admired in another gallery just weeks before. This has to be one of my favorite pieces as it evokes in me a feeling of awe at the beauty and sadness at the bondage she is unwillingly trapped in. There is an added point of interest in this version of the piece because it is a meeting of ancient art and modern technology. This iteration was created with state of the 3D printing technology and scanning techniques. This will have to take the place as my favorite piece in the Renwick.
Once we had finished the permanent exhibits we moved on to the murder diorama exhibit. This exhibit had quite the build up around it and it was enjoyable but with the over flow from the march going to see it we could not get the full experience. People were packed shoulder to shoulder to see each piece for only a few seconds and move on to waiting for the next one. It was quite and interesting exhibit but by far my least favorite part of the gallery solely because of the crowd. I wish I could go again before it is removed without all the people there.
This was my first visit in my mission to see every gallery and museum in DC that is part of the Smithsonian. I have seen quite a few of them but I recently realized there are several I have never visited. This will now be a weekly adventure into the city until I see all 17.