The official photo blog of J. David Buerk Photography.

The Renwick Gallery: WONDER

Recently my dear friend and fellow #hashtagger Ellen invited me to join her in touring the newly reopened Renwick Gallery, a modern American art museum operated by the Smithsonian.  I'd actually never heard of the museum, even with its prominent location: it neighbors The White House.

Admittedly, I didn't photograph half of the exhibits.  Actually, we breezed through it pretty quickly.  We both love art, but honesty on a few pieces grabbed us.  The first thing we both noticed actually was the curvy-cut-carpet leading up the stairs, and the LED installation above.

After that, we went back downstairs, where you were supposed to begin and tour in order.  The number of visitors was incredible - astounding to me, for a museum I'd never even heard of.  After visiting, we learned that Renwick is the current fad on Tinder - selfies among the "Photography Encouraged" exhibits; it explains why so many people were taking so many selfies.  Photography Encouraged is something I can get behind though - I wish more places embraced that photography is a non-threatening recreation; the 9/11 fear of cameras being weapons is still unfortunately widespread, probably forever. #PhotographyIsNotACrime

One of the installations that grabbed us grabbed everyone - the colorful suspended threads of Gabriel Dawe.  It's beautiful, it's mesmerizing, it's disorienting, it's fantastic for selfies - you can actually spot a selfie in the making in this picture.

The polyester thread is loomed through eyelets on the floor and ceiling, and woven amongst its neighbors.  The individual threads are so thin that walking past them feels almost as though you are captured within a large, colorful spider web.

Next was Tara Donovan's index card towers, which reminded me of anthills, and Ellen of her dark days in architecture school, building models without seeing sunlight for days on end during finals.  We moved along.

Upstairs we were confused about why so many people were lying on the floor watching Janet Echelman's colorfully lit netting - it's pretty, but we wouldn't view it as if we're cloud watching.  Ellen challenged me to produce a picture of it that made it "not boring."  I definitely win this round, young lady; this is actually my favorite picture from the entire day.

We were also confused as to why there was a line wrapping around all four walls of this room to enter the next - peeking around the door, we saw what was next, and proceeded into the line to continue through.

We were greeted by John Grade's Middle Fork; a wooden sculpture of a hemlock tree.

Ok, I'll admit, this one is tied for my favorite picture of the day.  It's beautiful.  If you want to see it, but with someone's head in the middle, go on Tinder.

Next we saw Chakaia Booker's Anonymous Donor, and Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave.  Booker's piece smelled fantastic to a petrolhead; I commented that it needed some straightpipe hydrocarbon smell to complete it (that's not sarcasm; I really did like it, being a gearhead).  Powers' sculpture deserves some hashtags, since Ellen and I often have entire text conversations in hashtags, and the work itself spurred some discussion which I thought was outrageous, particularly since it is 173 years old.

#NudityIsNotSex #NudityIsNotPorn #BoudoirIsNotPorn #SensualAndSexualAreNotTheSame #FreeTheNipple #EveryoneHasNipples #ItsJustANipple #TheHumanBodyIsArt #ArtMakesYouThink #ArtCreatesDiscussion #WhyAreYouThatOffendedOverANippleYouHaveTwoOfThem #IfSomethingOffendsYouThatMuchDontPurposelyGoToPlacesWhereYouKnowYoullGetOffended #2015TheYearPeopleGotOffended #2015WasLastYearSoStopItAlready #WhyArePeopleOffendedByTheHumanBody #EveryoneHasABody #EveryoneIsArt

Next was the pink, bug filled display In the Midnight Garden, by Jennifer Angus.  This, moreso than the other exhibits, was difficult to photograph because of the number of people.  It was very unsettling  - I really liked it.

Lastly we visited the gift shop; lots of cool, artsy stuff.  I am SO tempted to go back just to buy this journal.  If you know me, you'll know its *very* "me."

The museum was packed to start, but when we left, there was a freaking line to get inside, and guards were metering entrance to the gallery!  Unreal!  Drugged up tiger selfies are so 2014 (thank God - can we please put an end to that? - #SwipeLeftOnTigerSelfies #ExceptForMyOneFriendWhoIsTheNationalTigerSanctuarysPhotographerShesCool).