Seismic

The upstairs exhibit room at the Renwick Gallery used to be long, narrow, and hopelessly out-of-date. Since it seemed historic (or, to our way of thinking, “stuck in time”), we wondered if it would survive the renovation. One way to find out was to the climb the long staircase at the Renwick to see for ourselves – and what we saw was a seismic change – both in an exhibit and in the Renwick itself.

Massed clouds of airy fibers floated in the air.

Massed clouds of airy fibers floated in the air.

What were we seeing? The placard explained that “Echelman’s woven sculpture corresponds to the energy released across the Pacific Ocean during the Tahaku earthquake and tsunami, one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history. The event was so powerful it shifted the earth on its axis and shortened the day, March 11, 2011, by 1.8 millionth of a second, lending this work its title. Waves taller than the 100-foot length of the gallery ravaged the east coast of Japan, reminding us that what is wondrous can equally be dangerous.”

DSC04184

1.8,” by Janet Echelman; 2015; fiber, programmable lighting, printed textile flooring

The design of the carpet and fiber floating overhead followed the seismic mapping.

In another room we saw “Middle Fork”, by John Grade, 2105, made of reclaimed old-growth western red cedar.

In another room we saw “Middle Fork”, by John Grade, 2105, made of reclaimed old-growth western red cedar.

John Grade found a 150-year old hemlock tree in the Pacific Northwest; made a plaster cast; and proceeded, with many volunteers, to recreate the old hemlock over the plaster cast using half a million small pieces of the carved reclaimed cedar.

Looking down through the top of the old “hemlock” tree with branches jutting out.

Looking down through the top of the old “hemlock” tree with branches jutting out.

As we left the gallery and looked back, we saw the base of the tree, as if it had fallen over on the forest floor.

As we left the gallery and looked back, we saw the base of the tree, as if it had fallen over on the forest floor.

Found objects are appealing materials to use. Chakaia Booker used the rubber scraps found in her city to create her own work of art.

Anonymous Donor”, by Chakaia Booker, 2015, rubber tires and stainless steel

Anonymous Donor”, by Chakaia Booker, 2015, rubber tires and stainless steel

We think the new Renwick is worth a stop on your next visit to Washington, DC, and we’re not the only ones enthusiastic about the wonderful installations. Even the security guard encouraged visitors to take a second look, explaining how the installation was constructed to help us visitors better understand the artwork. So, if you don’t take our word for it, the security guard’s enthusiasm says it all.

 

November 2015

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Seismic

  1. Louise Millikan says:

    Thanks for the usual fantastic photos. It’s great to see that main gallery upstairs free of partygoers. I can finally get a good look at the carpet, reminiscent of the Hokusi wave prints. Pretty amazing! I completely agree. The new Renwick is a MUST SEE!!

  2. I’m adding this museum to our next visit to DC

  3. This looks spectacular. I love how he used the tree to make a mould. That’s clever and what a stunning piece he created with it.

Tell us what you think, please.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.