Some incredible architecture courtesy of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which houses offices for White House staff, the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, then dinner at the historic Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington’s oldest bar and restaurant and, finally a walk back to where we started, at Dupont Circle. Mari Vanna looked inviting but we didn’t go in, which reminds me that perhaps we ought to try their New York branch, sometime.
April 23rd, 2017
From the Capitol to the National Gallery Sculpture Garden.
The McGee Roadster, the 16th vehicle to be documented as national heritage by the HVA for the National Historic Vehicle Register and U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Historic American Engineering Record.
Robert Indiana, AMOR, conceived 1998, executed 2006.
Mark di Suvero, Aurora, 1992–93.
Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1996/1997.
Claes Oldenburg; Coosje van Bruggen, Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1999.
Roxy Paine, Graft, 2008–2009.
The Smithsonian Castle.
National Museum of African American History & Culture.
And, finally, the iconic obelisk in honour of George Washington.
April 23rd, 2017
Beginning near Dupont Circle back to Union Station with its massive Columbus Fountain and very own Liberty Bell which, in reality, is a replica of this symbol of independence located in Philadelphia – minus the iconic crack. In D.C., it is called Freedom Bell, American Legion, a public artwork dedicated in 1981.
From the Station, a short walk to the Capitol, passing in front of the Supreme Court which is closed on weekends. Still, one can walk around it and marvel at its dignified neoclassical architecture, tall Corinthian columns and bronze doors, designed by Gilbert and John Donnelly, Sr. and sculpted by his son, John Donnelly, Jr.
Each door is made up of four bas-reliefs which represent significant events in the evolution of justice according to Western tradition in chronological order. The thematic sequence begins on the lower left panel, moves up to the top of the door then continues on the bottom right panel and concludes on the upper right corner.
17 feet high and 9 ½ feet wide, and weighing approximately 13 tons the doors prompted the sculptor to declare:
“Out of all of our monumental projects, spread over two lifetimes, the Supreme Court doors are the only work that we ever signed – that’s how important they were.”
April 23rd, 2017
We had been warned, when we first came to New York, that every couple of months we must get out of the City or else we’d risk confusing its inherent surreality for normality. For the reality is, there is no place on earth like New York City. And it can mess up with your perception of time and space.
Taking this advice to heart, two months after visiting Philadelphia we took off on our second trip. A fortnight in three cities, starting with the capital: Washington D.C.
First impressions ~
a) it always strikes me as curious how birds can get so lost as to end up in the bowels of the beast that is Penn Station;
b) 3,5 hours by train on a rainy day and my collection of moody, blurry photos has been largely enriched;
c) D.C. is clean and neat, and it reminded me of those tidy, groomed cities one comes across just about everywhere in Switzerland;
d) all subway stations look alike: grey, concrete, clean, clearly marked, easy to follow even by first-time visitors (as New York subway would have been, in a parallel universe);
e) a local liquor shop with a quirky sense of humour – that was a warm welcome! Made me wonder whether quirkiness is a common feature among Washingtonians?!
En route to Washington D.C.
April 22nd, 2017
A lovely coincidence it was, two Greeks in their first trip outside New York, to a city with a Greek name. From philos > φίλος > friend and adelphos > αδελφός > brother; who knows what Penn was thinking when he named her. One thing is sure, he did have good intentions.
Philly sparkled as she waived goodbye that night. Penn would have been proud.
February 25th, 2017
Albert Barnes taught people to look at works
of art primarily in terms of their visual relationships.
The Barnes is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern European paintings, with especially deep holdings in Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. Assembled by Dr. Albert C. Barnes between 1912 and 1951, the collection also includes important examples of African art, Native American pottery and jewelry, Pennsylvania German furniture, American avant-garde painting, and wrought-iron metalwork.
The minute you step into the galleries of the Barnes collection, you know you’re in for an experience like no other. Masterpieces by Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso hang next to ordinary household objects—a door hinge, a spatula, a yarn spinner. On another wall, you might see a French medieval sculpture displayed with a Navajo textile. These dense groupings, in which objects from different cultures, time periods, and media are all mixed together, are what Dr. Barnes called his “ensembles.”
In this spirit, here is an ”ensemble” of my own, a compilation of images from the up and coming Comcast Technology Center – with its dangerous-looking platform lift – and the Barnes Foundation. Photography inside the galleries is not permitted and, for once, I understand. With its small rooms and artworks arranged over the entire length and width of the walls, the ”ensembles” are not easy to capture – at least not by the casual photographer.
The Barnes Foundation
February 25th, 2017