If you ever wondered…

These days  it’s not enough for art  to just sit around looking pretty. To be noticed in a world exploding with new  digital stimuli vying for our attention ever minute, art has to grab you by the short and curlies in order to gain a precious nano second’s attention. An exhibition that delivers just that and more, is the Wonder exhibit at the Smithsonian’s newly renovated Renwick Gallery in Washington DC.

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Tara Donovan’s monumental towers created from styrene index cards

The exhibition perfectly conveys the textbook definition of its title, Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. Each of the jaw-dropping, logic-defying, inspirational installations has one wondering a) how on earth the artists thought up and actually produced these creations and b) what on earth will artists think up next?

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Gabriel Dawe’s Plexus, recreates a stunning rainbow out of woven thread, wood, hooks and steel

My favorite installation was Patrick Dougherty’s Shindig, an installation made entirely out of willow saplings. The large gallery space was tansformed into a wondrous world of fantasy where for a fleeting instance, one could forget one’s human origins and imagine an alternate existence nestled in a natural world of inexpressible beauty.

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I am awed and diminished by the scale and intricacy of Dougherty’s masterful creation
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Wonder is the perfect art experience for all ages

Another dazzling spectacle was the room decorated by artist Jennifer Angus. But like all the works in this exhibition, the intricate design patterns on the walls are not what they seem at first glance….

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On closer inspection the wallpaper is made of thousands of bugs!!!!

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What all the works in this exhibition have in common is the immersive, experiential  and multi sensory adventure that they offer museum visitors. This is the new wave, the new frontier in art and the museum goes a step further by embracing our ubiquitous image sharing culture…

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The Renwick is experiencing an unanticipated flood of visitors. And no wonder (pun intended) – the lady at the information desk told us that this is the happiest museum exhibition she can ever recall!

Visit Wonder at the Renwick through July, 2016.

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