Washington, DC: Wonder at The Renwick


This reminds me of a Taylor Swift song. “Are we out of the woods yet?” Or perhaps we’re heading Into the Woods of a whimsical movie set.


IMG_2154-0Inside a fashionable, yet unassuming building are some very peculiar pieces of light, color, nature, and creativity. The Renwick Gallery, a museum “dedicated to the future of art,” showcases collections that evoke myriad reactions; to name a few, you might experience marvel, curiosity, joy, disgust, thought, wonder. Coincidentally, its current exhibit is themed “Wonder.”

You indeed wonder about and find wonderful fixtures such as this scintillating splash of color. Is it light or yarn? Light on yarn? Yarn of light? This weaving mimics a natural rainbow.



In a seemingly separate world, there appears to be a living ensemble of marbles. Is it alive? Does it bite? You go first; I’ll follow. Is it plastic? Is it water? Is it contagious?



Look up! Don’t get trapped under that net. Is it a net? Or is it an orange cloud? Or is it an oversized, bioluminescent jellyfish? Maybe I do want to –briefly– be trapped under there. It’d be like wandering around maze of wispy, tangible sunlight. Or would it be more sticky and disconcerting like a spider web?




What a strange world this is: from a golden fisherman’s net, to… giant anteater hills? No, it’s a mountain range of…index cards? Imagination (and wonder!) certainly has no bounds.




IMG_2147Of course, there are less exotic (though no less grand) displays as well, such as this animated chandelier with flirtatious lights that endlessly chase after each other. There are other curious exhibits: colorful, unframed insects arranged into patterns as wall art; or a wooden bridge repurposed into the cast of a century-old tree.

The Renwick has accomplished what it has set out to do, in both curating a collection of wonders and in dedicating itself to the future of art. When visiting Washington, DC, this is a DO! It’s easy to overlook the museum because it’s situated across the promenade from the White House, but hopefully its location is more like free marketing in a heavily trafficked area.

Wishing you a wonderful, wonder-filled weekend,