Some Works on Display
While mainly used as an office building or for hosting various Smithsonian Associates events, lectures and classes, the Ripley Center sometimes houses really cool exhibits. These next few months are no exception as, Artists at Work, an exhibit featuring art created by Smithsonian employees, volunteers and interns from across the Smithsonian, will be on display. From 170 works in a variety of mediums, independent judges selected 56 to display. Submissions were from a wide spectrum of Smithsonian Museums and offices working in many different fields. It was fascinating to see submissions from exhibit stagers and museum managers as well as from IT personnel and biology lab technicians. Artists truly can be found in all walks of life.
I’d like to highlight a few of the accomplished works in this exhibit that drew my interest because of either the unique perspective, take on an issue, or medium used. First, there was a stool made in the shape of a heart where each piece of wood used was from a different time and location in the artist’s life. It was fascinating to see the literal journey the artist took (as some pieces of wood were from places like their childhood home or grandmother’s house) as well as the journey of their creative process. My favorite piece would have to be a necklace titled Of Disease. This necklace had the prescription labels from multiple MS medications adorning chain (which was made out of IV tubing) that would fold up into a small box which contained the MRI film of an MS patient’s brain. It was such a distinctive take on attempting to put the viewer in the shoes of the patient. Two other works stood out to me based on their uniqueness. The first was a fully articulated and beautifully painted puppet of a tiger and the second was a piece designed to highlight the terrors of war, a crutch that’s middle portion was made out of a gun.
Heart Stool, 2014
It is always interesting to see a collection of art whose subjects and mediums are so varied when quite often an exhibit highlights one style or artist. It is also insightful to see what inspired each individual to create.
This exhibit will be on display until May 1st and is located on the bottom floor of the Ripley Center, right next to the Smithsonian Castle. Follow this link for a Washington Post article featuring one of the works created by a young Smithsonian volunteer.