Local Attractions: The Renwick Gallery brings Burning Man to Washington D.C.

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Labor Day weekend has arrived and we’re sure you’re wondering how you’re going to spend your 3 glorious days off!

Here’s an idea! There’s an art museum filled with wonders residing just steps away from the White House. This institution known as The Renwick Gallery has the words “Dedicated to Art” carved above the main entrance and has maintained that mantra since its official opening in 1972. Currently the Renwick is featuring a remarkable exhibition called, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, which encompasses the entire museum.

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view of the main entrance of The Renwick Gallery, photo courtesy of Google Images

Today’s blog will give you a brief look inside the exhibition, No Spectators, some background information on the Renwick’s rich history, and the take everyone on a trip to Nevada’s Black Rock City, the home of Burning Man. Everybody ready? Let the tour begin!

The History:

The Renwick Gallery is an extension of the Smithsonian and it’s the location of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s (SAAM) program of contemporary craft as well as decorative arts. The Renwick is a National Historic Landmark because it was the first building in the U.S. constructed with the sole intent to be a public art museum.

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Renwick building, 1884, photo courtesy of SAAM website

It was meant to showcase the art collection of 19th century Washington native, philanthropist, banker, and avid art collector, Mr. William Wilson Corcoran. Mr. Corcoran felt recognizing the artwork of American artists and sharing them with the public would “encourage American genius.” The name Renwick Gallery originates from the architect Corcoran hired, Mr. James Renwick Jr. In 1858, Corcoran hired Renwick because he was familiar with Renwick’s design of the Smithsonian’s Castle.

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The Smithsonian Castle, 1847-1855, photo courtesy of Google Images

The design of the Renwick was inspired by the opening of the Louvre and the style of the Renwick building is called Second Empire architecture, which at the time was highly popular in France. The construction of the Renwick began in 1859 and went until 1873. The museum ran into numerous obstacles, which delayed opening for years. Once it was completed in 1874 it was referred to as “The American Louvre” and played a major role in proving Washington D.C. to be cultural territory.

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interior of the top floor of the Renwick, photo by Ron Blunt, found on SAAM website

The history of the Renwick is so extensive, I can’t discuss the entire timeline here. If you’re interested in learning more about the museum’s history, click here to visit the SAAM website.

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man

What is Burning Man?

Once a year, thousands of people flock to Black Rock Desert in Nevada to construct Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis where Burning Man comes to life! Burning Man is centered around self-expression, art, community, freedom, and all around positivity

The Burning Man Mission is to “produce positive spiritual change in the world…it is equally important that we communicate with one another, with the citizens of Black Rock City and with the community of Burning Man wherever it may arise.”

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The Man will always Burn, photo courtesy of Google Images

Burning Man is a place where innovative minds can come together to celebrate their love for creativity.

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“Love” by Alexandr Milov from Odessa, Ukraine, Burning Man 2015, photo courtesy of Collective Evolution

No Spectators:

Black Rock City is a hub of artistic genius motivated by The Ten Principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, Communal Effort, and Immediacy. This artistic brilliance is being recognized by the Renwick and now everyone can enjoy the mesmerizing creations artists bring to Burning Man.

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The Ten Principles, on view at the Renwick Gallery, photo by Taylor Chauncey, PG Gallery Assistant

The exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man was made possible by Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft at the Renwick.

“No Spectators’ is a long-standing saying on Playa. You are encouraged to fully participate. It’s all about being there, being fully present, and not just observing. Two of the ten principles of Burning Man are radical participation and radical inclusivity, meaning that there are no outsiders. Everyone is part of the experience.” – Nora Atkinson

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Nora Atkinson, photo courtesy of the Burning Man Journal

No Spectators features works, sculptures, costumes, and installations from 20 different artistic innovators; Gelareh Alam, Duane Flatmo, Marco Cochrane, FoldHaus Art Collective, Michael Garlington & Natalia Bertotti, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk & Serge Beaulieu), David Best (creator of Temple used in the very first image of this post), Richard Wilks, Aaron Taylor Kuffner and many many more!

All of the works featured in this exhibition are in some way interactive to encapsulate the “No Spectators” mantra.

Below is a brief look inside The Art of Burning Man:

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designs created by Gelareh Alam, photo by Taylor Chauncey, PG Gallery Assistant

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design created by Gelareh Alam, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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design created by Gelareh Alam, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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Paper Arch by Michael Garlington & Natalia Bertotti, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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detail of Paper Arch by Michael Garlington & Natalia Bertotti, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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Shrumen Lumen by FoldHaus Art Collective, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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Tin Pan Dragon, a 23-foot animated sculpture made of steel & recycled aluminum by Duane Flatmo, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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Evotrope by Richard Wilks, photo by Taylor Chauncey

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HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk & Serge Beaulieu), photo by Taylor Chauncey

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Gameltron by Aaron Taylor Kuffner, photo by Taylor Chauncey

I hope you enjoyed this little brief look into the Renwick and No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man! There is so much more to see so go check it out!

Note: the exhibition will close in two phases, please visit the Renwick Gallery/SAAM website by clicking here for more information.

Of course, come visit Principle Gallery as well since there’s no such thing as too much art! Here is our schedule of Upcoming Events!

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Kyle Stuckey: The Artist Who Captures the Essence of Charleston

Kyle Stuckey

We certainly love our dear city of Alexandria, but for this blog we are taking a trip down south to Charleston! We want our followers to get to know the artists we represent at Principle Gallery Charleston as well as give you all a taste of the exciting events and exhibitions our team puts together.

For this blog I will be introducing you all to Charleston-based artist, Kyle Stuckey!

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A little bit about Kyle:

Kyle Stuckey was born in 1987 and began studying art in high school. During that time he was taught via private instruction with Lori Woodward Simmons and participated in various workshops. Stuckey eventually became a member of the Putney Painters, one of the leading Realism groups in the U.S. renowned for still-life, portraits, as well as landscapes. With this group of painters Stuckey was able to enhance his skills in the company of some of the greatest artists working today, such as Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik.

Stuckey’s work is highly influenced by his study of the art worlds most influential figures, including John William Waterhouse, John Singer Sargent, William Bouguereau, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Anders Zorn. Over time, he has developed and fine-tuned his style, working with oil as an Impressionistic Realism painter.

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Stuckey painting the scenery of Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, NV

Originally from New Hampshire, the artist lived in Nevada for 2 years. He has also spent time in Mexico, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Japan. Stuckey lived in Costa Rica for 8 months and in Rome for 2, traveling throughout Italy. He currently lives in Charleston, where he continues to paint.

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What’s next for Kyle Stuckey?

Saturday, August 25th 2018 | 5:30-7:30pm:

Kyle will be unveiling a brand new painting at Principle Gallery Charleston! However, it’s not just any painting, it will be a piece showcasing the newly renovated Historic Fireproof Building, which resides on the 100 block of Meeting St in Charleston. This painting was generously commissioned by The Renaissance Women of Charleston for the South Carolina Historical Society.

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The Historic Fireproof Building

This building is a National Historic Landmark that currently serves as the headquarters for the South Carolina Historical Society, which is a private non-profit organization that began in 1855.

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image from the SC Historical Society website

The Fireproof Building was built in 1827 with the purpose to house and protect important city records. In efforts to keep those records safe, the architect constructed the building entirely out of fireproof materials. The walls and frame were made of pure masonry, while the doors, window frames, and shutters were made of iron.

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Image courtesy of the Historic Charleston Foundation

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Image courtesy of the Historic Charleston Foundation

Unfortunately, a fire did manage to start on the upper floors, ruining a decent portion of the buildings interior, but the records remained safe.

If you would like to attend the VIP Unveiling at Principle Gallery Charleston, please RSVP by calling 843-727-4500. Space is limited so please RSVP by Thursday, August 23rd.

Friday, October 5th 2018 | 5:00-9:00pm:

Kyle Stuckey’s 50 Portraits of Charleston: The Heartbeat of the Holy City opens Friday, October 5th at Principle Gallery Charleston, with the Opening Reception from 5-9pm! This exhibition will showcase 50 original portraits by Kyle, and each portrait represents people who live in Charleston, who call it their home.

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Since the show is centered around the Charleston community, 25% of all proceeds from works sold will be given to a local charity: Teachers’ Supply Closet.

A few questions for Kyle:

I asked Kyle a series of 6 questions, questions pertaining to his creativity, his process, and his career. Below are my questions and the artists answers. Enjoy!

Q. Is there something that or someone who inspires you daily?

 

My inspiration really just comes from anything that catches my attention. I think it is important to observe the world we live in, from the big to the small. And when something catches my attention for whatever reason, I may want to capture that particular thing itself or it could open up ideas to future projects.

 

Q. Is there a specific project, commissions, personal creation, etc, that you are extremely proud of?

 

50 Portraits of Charleston. Although it’s still not complete, I would say it will be my biggest undertaking to date. Accomplishing 50 portraits in less than 6 months is something I wasn’t sure I could do, so it gives me a little boost of confidence knowing I can get it done…even when it’s hard.

 

Q. What does the word creativity mean to you?

 

Expressing the things you observe in a way that excites you.


Q. I know you have done a wondrous amount of traveling, do your trips serve as your artistic motivation? Is there anything else that sustains your ambition?

 

a) Yes! I like to paint things that are interesting or beautiful. When you travel, you tend to see a lot of new and exciting things. The more you explore, the more you find!

 

b) Wanting to get better sustains my ambition. I’m sort of stubborn and always want to be better.

 

Q. Have you been faced with discouragement? If so, how did you overcome it?

 

Every day. Or at least 5 times a week. As a creative, you’re cursed by thinking you’re never good enough and there’s always room for improvement or change of direction. It’s a constant learning and exploring. Each day you can wake up and find out there’s something you don’t know how to do like how to create a new brushstroke or better render the effects of atmosphere and space. It goes on and on. So when I get stuck or feel like I’m the worst, I either put that particular painting away for a bit and go on to something else or view some of the past work I’m most proud of to remind myself I actually can create something worth looking at. Also, practicing what I’m not good at is a big part of getting out of a discouragement rut.


Q. What was the best piece of advice you were given? Who gave it to you?

 

Two things:

 

1. Squint more

2. Don’t neglect to practice your art form

 

Both came from one of today’s living masters, Richard Schmid.

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Work by Kyle Stuckey available at Principle Gallery Charleston:

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Giving Way to the Night 36×36, oil on panel

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Over the Waters 15×10, oil on panel

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Night at the Fountain 28×53, oil on panel

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Dream Garden 33×24, oil on panel

Contact Principle Gallery Charleston via email art@principlecharleston.com if you’d like to inquire about any available works by Kyle Stuckey. Visit their website www.principlegallery.com/charleston if you’d like to see more work by Kyle!