Thursday, May 6, 2010

How sanity was kept during insane times.

Yesterday I wandered through downtown DC. Great people-watching and conversation-snippet eaves-dropping. I came across the Renwick and went in. It is now on my list of favorite places. It is a small and intimate museum in the middle of the museum behemoths that surround the mall.
There was a special exhibit on the first floor (more about that later) and the second floor has one major room and three side rooms. The Grand salon is set up salon style (as its name would indicate) with the paintings side by side and stacked upwards toward the 40 foot ceilings! The ceiling itself is a large skylight .

It is admittedly not the best way to view the paintings (especially for someone who has been scolded by many guards for having her nose to close to the brush strokes), but it has just a great sense of history and place. The side galleries hold craft of all kinds, from the requisite Chihuly glass, through fiber, wood and a giant “game” fish, it showcases both the range technique and range of emotions in craft art.

The special exhibit, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946,  was the real highlight. The range was again amazing. (sorry - no photos allowed) From some crude, functional furniture, to some exquisite carvings and stitched works, it portrayed the work of people of all ages, genders and occupations. The commonality was that search for beauty or/and sanity in the midst of some very insane times.

Dear Etsy Friends: One interesting part of the exhibit was some beautiful jewlery items - mostly brooches. They were crafted from found objects and trash... and were so finely done it was amazing. These were not made to be "eco-friendly" or "green" They were simply a product of necessity... it was necessary to create, and it was necessary to create with what you could find.

I will admit to being a true believer in “folk art” - that art that is made for no reason other than it must be made, by individuals who may or may not consider themselves “artists”. Folk Art, Tramp Art, Outsider Art, Craft, Women’s Work; call it what you will, but enjoy it’s genuine spirit.

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