Monday, December 8, 2008

Out and About on a Chilly Day

Previous Post: The Indian Craft Shop

It is horribly cold this morning, with an icy evil wind that cuts to the bone. It seems even to affect the sculpted lions trapped in the cold outside a major renovation project!

Despite the cold, it's nice to see a few more festive buildings, including those of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Pollution Control Agency, and the Red Cross.

And if you keep your back to the wind, then even the weather doesn't seem so bad!

Luckily it is warmer inside the National Gallery of Art, where the atrium allows one to enjoy a taste of the coming holidays far from the blustery cold!

We came here to see the Oceans, Rivers, and Skies show featuring the work of Ansel Adams, Robert Adams, and Alfred Stieglitz. It's an interesting enough show, but small and not THAT interesting. Time for lunch.

The food available at the Cascade cafeteria is truly dreadful, but fountain is mesmerizing.

Next we head through the museum's fabulous light exhibit/underground walkway to get to the East Building - a dramatic space designed by architect I. M. Pei.

The show we've come here to see here is on Pompeii and the Roman Villa. It emphasizes the wealth that existed in this area in years leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD and the beautiful homes and furnishes that such wealth made possible.

Since we have time, we wander through several other galleries, stumbling across a couple of unexpected delights along the way.

"Lorette with Turban, Yellow Jacket" (1917) by Henri Matisse

Portrait of art dealer Pedro Manach (1901) by Pablo Picasso

Next it is time to head over to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. http://americanart.si.edu

The Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities show features lovely works by both artists and far more works by O'Keeffe than I've seen together outside the museum in Santa Fe. While the work is gorgeous, the design of the exhibit loses the point of the exhibition. Unlike the brochure and video, the exhibit itself isolates each artist's work by theme instead of intermixing the work within each theme. This arrangement makes it hard to fully appreciate the similarities and differences in their vision. Still, there are some stunning works here.

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