« A Friday Afternoon Toot | Eye Level Home | Baseball at Night »

A Sound Take on Craft
May 23, 2006

Norm Sartorius, Spoon from a Forgotten Ceremony, 1994, dogwood, 1 1/2 x 18 x 3 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John and Robyn Horn, 1994.75

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a special project here at SAAM in which Advanced Placement Art History students from the Holton-Arms and Landon Schools here in Washington, D.C. visited our Renwick Gallery of American Craft. Their assignment was to research one of our artworks and produce a podcast about the piece they chose.

Hearing the students’ unique interpretations was an interesting experience for the Eye Level team. Watching them view the art with fresh eyes was one thing. Hearing what they had to say and how they developed their voice, well, we were impressed. And we have picked six podcasts we think you’ll find interesting. 

Two students created pieces on artworks from our current exhibition, Grant Wood’s Studio: Birthplace of American Gothic, (on display until July 16). Katy Waldman takes on the voice of Wood’s rigid Aunt Tilly in Victorian Survival. And Chizzy Ohanyerenwa compares Wood’s Lilies of the Alley to flowers “blooming from concrete.”

Other students were interested by objects from our permanent collection. Metty Fesseha sets a dramatic scene for William Morris’s glass sculpture Raft, while Allison Lee describes Binh Pho’s escape to America in Journey of Destiny. Lauren McGrath explains that Norm Sartorius’s Spoon From a Forgotten Ceremony is “no ordinary spoon.” Finally, Emmy Waldman entices us to closely examine Wendell Castle’s “trompe l’oeil masterpiece” Ghost Clock. Is that really wood?


Victorian Survival

Grant Wood’s Victorian Survival by Katy Waldman

Lilies of the Alley

Grant Wood’s Lilies of the Alley by Chizzy Ohanyerenwa


William Morris’s Raft by Metty Fisseha

Journey of Destiny

Binh Pho’s Journey of Destiny by Allison Lee

Spoon From a Forgotten Ceremony

Norm Sartorius’s Spoon From a Forgotten Ceremony by Lauren McGrath

Ghost Clock

Wendell Castle’s Ghost Clock by Emmy Waldman

Posted by Cassandra on May 23, 2006 in American Art Here


William Morris’s piece the Raft is very interesting. It showed how the one that is more alert of their surroundings can get a head start on preparing for their future obstacles. They do whatever is takes to withstand the worst of times. I visualized the many people that take others’ lives or glory to benefit them. Then once the damage has been done, the conscious starts to reveal itself. A lot of times, people do things to others that will hurt or hinder them to in order to “survive”. That is a sad way of handling business, but for some people, that’s the only way. This piece represented how people will go as far as to kill others and still end up in the same or worse situation only to add more problems. Even though it may seem like the logical or correct thing to do to get ahead, it can be the one factor that will destroy you. A lot of times, the conscious can eat at us so bad, that it will destroy us worse than the actual obstacle we push others down and stepped on to overcome. It also showed how people do evil or conniving things to others and everything looks fine on the outside but on the inside they are slowing cracking up, because they know what they did and it is hard to face life knowing your own past.

Katy Waldman's podcast on Grant Wood's Victorian Survival is a great example of a student using imagination to place herself into the context of the work and a technique to tie art, history, and individual student perception together. I enjoyed her assumption of the personal characteristics of the subject of the work and her insight into the possible feelings of the subject.

Emmy Waldman's podcast on Wendell Castle's Ghost Clock is intriguing. The mysterious and suspenseful image invites you to unveil it with your imagination. The game it plays with my mind to fill in the missing antique, Victorian-style details trick me into viewing the artwork with an open mind. I also love the idea of time- is it ending or just beginning depending on the unveiling. I can't wait to really see it.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails