I recently visited the Wonder exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in DC. The Renwick Gallery is home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection of contemporary craft and decorative art, and after a two-year renovation, the museum reopened in November 2015. Wonder features nine artists who invite the museumgoer to experience the wonder of everyday objects; objects range from index cards to thread, bugs to branches, marbles, netting and even tires.
As I walked through each room, I thought about how vision—and the ability to bring vision to life—can truly impact the way we see the world. It can shift our understanding of objects and their beauty, and it can inspire us to believe that there is often more than meets the eye. As I strolled through each room, I was, without a doubt, filled with inspiration and wonder. But I have to admit that my favorite creation was the one photographed above: Plexus A1. I loved how Gabriel Dawe used strands of thread to play with the eye, and at moments, trick us into wondering, what is color and what is light? I also really enjoyed In the Midnight Garden, by Jennifer Angus, which was a bright pink room with beautiful insects pinned to the walls in an incredible pattern. Lastly, I spent a lot of time taking in 1.8 by Janet Echelman, which was a woven net that was suspended above the Grand Salon and had various shifting colors projected onto the netting that continuously transformed the mood of the room.
One thing that is worth noting is how the Renwick not only allows photography, but encourages it. As you walk through the rooms, you'll notice reminders inviting you to take photos and use the hashtag #RenwickGallery on social media. I loved this idea that the art shouldn't be trapped inside the building, but that instead, we should have the freedom to share it with one another—and even, share our own interpretation of it. If you're in town, I would definitely encourage you to check out the exhibit. It's not one to be missed. Some installations close on May 8, and others on July 10. Learn more.