Wonder at the Renwick

For me this was the first time visiting the Renwick Gallery, although I feel like I had seen it enough through Instagram. One of my thoughts for this assignment would be to ask friends for their photos of the gallery to use in this assignment, however I did not do that.

My experience at the gallery was not so much affected by my own photography, but by the photography of those who had come before me. since just about every piece of art had shown up in my Instagram feed at some point or another I had a good idea of what to expect from the art. I knew what the art looked like, but only as far as an image could portray. The real wonder came from the difference between my expectations of the art from those images to what I saw in real life. It was the transition from the art as I had seen it to also include the space it filled and especially how it interacted with that space that was the most striking. It is  incredibly hard to perceive how the art fills the space through a single or few photographs, for instance the rainbow strings. here is a photo that I took of the rainbow strings.

The multi-dimensionality of the strings does not not translate well in a 2-D photo. from the photo one would think that there is only a single twisted plane that is filled, but from every point on the floor there are several strings going to every point on the ceiling and that fills a lot of space. the strings occupy a lot of space and that was really the extra magic that I had never been able to perceive.

Since I had already seen most of the art in the gallery before going it freed me to focus on smaller details of the exhibit. I spent much of my time focusing on how other people interacted with the art, how photography influenced the art, and a lot of details in the art rather than the broader picture, which I had seen before. I focused on things that I found interesting like construction and beautiful details. in the tire room I focused on the tread of the tire, and the size. as a car enthusiast this is what interested me the most. I could see what the medium was and that was intriguing to me. The whole flow of that room was also reminiscent to a MOMA exhibit I went to a number of years ago. other details I focused on were the interactions of the cards in the room with the paper towers. here are a few of my photographs looking at that smaller level of detail.


As part of this project was to explore the relationship between social media & photography and the experience of an art museum I also took a few photos documenting how others interacted with the exhibit.

Here there are many people looking up at the netting of the ceiling as well as a monitor displaying the Instagrams posted of the Renwick. The people watching at the exhibit was wonderful. there gallery is so interactive in the separation, or lack thereof, of people and art, as well as how people photographed the art.

while a photo of the exhibit translates well, there is still something more that a viewer gets when they visit, and that just isn’t there with paintings or photographs. an image of an image relays everything. the space and 3-D nature of the art at the Renwick is what makes the difference between a photo and actually going. As an experience I think that the social media aspect is crucial to the Renwick. I think the exhibit was meant to be shared. This is part of the greater artwork that is the Renwick. it isn’t just a gallery meant to share art to its visitors but the world, and they wanted to explore the relationship between social media and art. also by encouraging such social media they create an interactive art experience, engaging people more in the art they look at. I do not think this approach to art is suitable everywhere. I think it works because the art was meant for this social gallery. the art is stunning, visually imposing, and very shareable. the magic is perfect for social media. this isn’t the case everywhere and as such is not appropriate for every gallery.



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