Washington DC will never be a mecca for what’s on point in fashion, sports or art. But, the Smithsonian is working overtime to at least put us in the conversation. (Thank you, Smithsonian!) Exhibit A: 2014’s American Cool at The National Portrait Gallery.
After two years of renovations, The Renwick Gallery reopened at the end of 2015 and is the latest proof point that we are not a city full of stodgy politicians and presidents who don’t live up to the hype.
The current exhibit, entitled WONDER, is delightfully just that. (Yes, I used the word delightful.) The gallery lends its space to nine contemporary artists who created “site-specific” installations. In English, each exhibit is customized to the room, hallway or ceiling that serves as host to the finished masterpiece.
What results is unique series of massive works of art that are simply beautiful. You can wander through each room, walking around or, in the case of Patrick Dougherty’s exhibit (below), through enormous pods of willows and saplings.
To truly enjoy WONDER, don’t rush from room-to-room. Slow down. Stand on your tip toes to peak down the center of the reconstructed hemlock. Circle through rubber tires a few times. Stand in the corner to marvel at the “wallpaper” Jennifer Angus created. And, lay down in the grand salon to really marvel at the waves Janet Echelman installed. (Trust me fellow, germaphobes, put your jacket up over your head and lay down.)
PROTIP: Thanks to press like this, WONDER is P-A-C-K-E-D on the weekends. To miss the worst of the crowds, take a lunch break or leave work early. Make sure your camera or iPhone is charged. Photos are encouraged and you are going to want to photograph the heck out of WONDER.
The Renwick is open daily from 10:00 – 5:30 pm. The first floor installations will be on exhibit through May 8, 2016. The second floor installations will be on display through July 10, 2016.