Before going to the Renwick I had seen photos from friends snapchat stories, or Instagram posts, however seeing the exhibit in person allowed me to have an experience rather than just seeing the exhibits through a lens. For example, I had never seen the green marble exhibit in any social media. I predominately saw the rainbow string or the net canopy exhibits. This was interesting because people usually post their best pictures or experiences. However, my favorite exhibits were the green marble to the left and the giant wooden tree.
I usually don’t enjoy going to museums. I typically associate them with boredom. However, the Wonder exhibit was more than just a museum. It was an experience, and more than that, an investigation. The most interesting thing to me was what the exhibits were made of. The aspect of a small part making up a whole masterpiece was very interesting. For example, the giant tree that was made up of tiny pieces of wood, or the spiraling index cards that make up towers. One aspect that was interesting was how the people interacted with the art. People didn’t just move through the exhibits one by one. People went inside and around and looked at the exhibits from many different angles trying to get the best photograph, or view.
Another thing I enjoyed about this exhibit was that we were actually encouraged to photograph. At most museums I had been to before, taking photos was actually against the rules because it may harm the exhibit or ruin someone’s experience. In her article “The Renwick is suddenly Instagram famous. But what about the art?,” Maura Judkis points out that a 2013 study claims “people who take photos of a work of art don’t connect as deeply with it and are less likely to remember it”. I can see how photography can cause people to not connect deeply with the art, however this was not the case for me. Being able to photograph the artwork caused me to seek out different angles of the artwork, and to look at it for a longer period of time than I normally would have. I think this is especially true with a younger audience of museum goers who may have only found out about this exhibit due to social media posts featuring the photographs. I do have to say that so many people trying to photograph the same thing at the same time, just as Judkis points out with the Mona Lisa is quite frustrating, however, very worth it when you can use that photo to share the artwork with others even after you leave the museum, as I did.
Going to the Renwick exhibit allowed me to think differently about the images in my research project because I realized that both taking a photo, and viewing a photo is an experience. There are many factors that go into photography, and many motives for people to photograph in the first place. I can use this realization and apply it to the images I am analyzing in my research paper to better understand the image as a whole.