I spent the holidays in the DC area so naturally I took the opportunity to visit lots of art museums and galleries. (By some miracle I managed to see almost everything I wanted to see before the unfortunate shutdown.) I thought it might be fun to show you some pics of my favorite art pieces!
In the pic above I'm enjoying Leo Villareal's Multiverse light sculpture installation that connects the East and West Buildings of the National Gallery of Art. I think of it as a "star tunnel" and I really love it, partly because it reminds me a bit of Epcot or Space Mountain, but mainly because it's such a fun moving walkway (shown in motion below). 😊
Below I’m squaring off with a giant 15.5-foot (4.72m) blue rooster titled Hahn/Cock, the work of German artist Katharina Fritsch. It took her 2.5 years to create this huge rooster, which is also on display at the National Gallery of Art. I love the colossal size, the realistic details of the feathers and the deep richness of the blue.
Two of my favorite pieces on this trip were the hyper-realistic people sculptures shown below.
I first learned about American artist Duane Hanson when I was an art student, and was immediately intrigued by his realistic, life-sized sculptures of people. His sculptures look amazingly (and even uncomfortably) like real people in real settings! The sculpture of the figure below, titled Woman Eating, is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This piece was made in 1971 with polyester resin, fiberglass with oil and acrylic paints, and found accessories. It almost feels rude to stare at this sculpture because you can’t help feeling like a voyeur peering at a real person!
I also remember sitting in class and learning about Australian artist Ron Mueck, so I was delighted to see his piece Untitled (Big Man) at the Hirshhorn. While Duane Hanson’s work was life-sized, Ron Mueck’s sculptures are often larger than life, some quite colossal. His sculpture above is 7-ft tall and slouches in an upstairs corner of the Hirshhorn museum. Made from pigmented polyester resin on fiberglass, it’s quite a startling but fun sculpture when you first see it. I love the expression on his face!
Another fascinating work at the Hirshhorn was Mark Bradford’s Pickett’s Charge - 8 highly-textured mixed media abstract pieces, each spanning over 45 ft (13.7m) long, displayed along the inner circle of Level 3. I enjoyed getting up close to examine the variety of colors, textures and materials in these enormous works of art.
National Building Museum
I'm a huge fan of cavernous indoor spaces so I was delighted by the vast interior of the National Building Museum, shown above. Those Corinthian columns stand a colossal 75-ft tall (almost 23m)! I also liked the indoor fountain and the overall ambience of the space.
Arlington National Cemetery
Christmas is a picturesque time of year to visit Arlington National Cemetery because wreaths are placed at every gravemarker. It was my first time visiting the cemetery so it was a memorable experience. While walking amongst the gravestones I thought of my dad, who is buried in a veterans cemetery in Florida, because with his interest in history he would have loved to visit DC.
It was interesting to observe how the gravestones changed over the centuries and decades from the variety of tall elaborate styles of the past to the more modern uniform gravestones of today. We reflected on how each underneath each gravestone was a life story that we would never know - fascinating life stories that would be just as interesting as the stories of the famous people buried there.
After viewing the graves of JFK and the other Kennedys, we wandered quietly amongst the rows and rows of graves that stretched into the horizon, then walked over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (below) to watched the Changing of the Guard, which occurs every hour during winter.
After watching the Changing of the Guard we explored the marble Memorial Ampitheatre, which is used as a site for Veterans Day and Memorial Day services.
From the cemetery we walked to the Marine Corps War Memorial (aka the Iwo Jima Memorial), which I’d only seen on TV and in movies. It was a lot bigger than I expected! I admired the realism of the figures and the strong sense of movement frozen in time.
Since it was Christmastime there were Christmas trees everywhere, so here’s a few of them!
The pic above shows the Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn just after it was lit. Unfortunately a row of lights wasn’t working, but the sunset was pretty and everyone seemed to be in good spirits!
Above is a panorama of Union Station with a large 32-ft tall Christmas tree in the center. The tree is donated to Union Station every year by Norway as a symbol of friendship between Norway and the US.
The pics below were taken at the Supreme Court, in front of the Courtroom. It was rather busy so I wasn’t able to back up enough to get a full shot of the tree, but these 2 pics give you an idea of how tall it was.
All in all we had a lot of fun during our Christmas in DC. We managed to visit a bunch of museums before the shutdown, like the National Museum of African Art, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (which house Asian art), the National Museum of American History, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum, but we were too busy absorbing the exhibits to take many pictures, so I’ll end this post with this serene pic my husband took of the Jefferson Memorial.
Thanks for reading & I’ll see ya next time!