The Renwick Gallery, located across the street from the White House, has just reopened after being closed for two years for renovations. The Renwick’s first exhibit in its newly renovated space is Wonder. To create the exhibit, the Renwick invited nine artists to create large scale works of art out of objects that, while ordinary, are not often used in art installations.
One exhibit is an enormous rainbow made out of colored thread that reaches to the ceiling. Visitors can walk under the rainbow to admire how the light filters through the string and appreciate how it was constructed. Another exhibit is made out of sticks that the artist used to create huts that visitors are free to walk into and explore.
Other exhibits, including hanging LED lights and a woven sculpture, are best viewed lying down and looking up. Still other exhibits, made out of such mundane materials as tires and index cards, show visitors how the ordinary can be used artistically.
The highlight of Wonder for many children (and adults) is what is known as “The Bug Room.” This exhibit, otherwise known as In the Midnight Garden, is made nearly entirely out of bugs – yes, real bugs. Even the red color on the walls comes from bugs. Most of the insects come from Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea where bugs seem to be larger and more colorful than the ones we ordinarily encounter in the U.S.
Although not designed for children, Wonder will be enjoyed by kids of all ages who do find the exhibit wondrous. I liked showing my children how art can be created out of just about anything and how everyday objects can be made into something interesting with the right imagination.
- Wonder is scheduled to run through May of 2016.
- Admission is free.
- The Renwick hosts occasional Family Days which you can find listed on the Renwick’s calendar.
- Limited street parking is available and there are several garages within a few blocks.
Photos courtesy of Jamie Davis Smith.