BACK TO NORMAL — I HOPE
To the best of my knowledge, my the "blog feed" problems have been resolved, and my fellow bloggers are being alerted when new postings are published. Thanks for your patience.
In the process of trying to solve my technical problems, I made some design changes in the blog, using one of Blogger's new templates. Among other things, the new template is wider and provides more creative space, which gives a little breathing room to both the text and photos. From my perspective, it makes the blog a little easier on the eye. I hope you will agree.
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A DAY IN THE CITY — REDUX
I spent yesterday in Washington, primarily at the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. Inspired by Bonnie's recent post on Old Montreal, I thought it might be fun to share some of the day's delights with you, beginning with the East Wing itself (above), which was designed by the renowned architect, I.M. Pei.
As I entered the East Wing and descended one level, my eyes were riveted to Wall Drawing No. 681C, by the American artist, Sol LeWitt.
Just a few steps away was a small gallery adorned by three works of the abstract expressionist painter, Mark Rothko.
This is a wonderful, small stabile created by Alexander Calder and titled Vertical Constellation with Bomb (1943). I love the way that the shadows add to this composition. As I looked at this work, I began to wonder if shadows, in the Jungian sense, also improve the compositions of our individual selves.
Turning left from Vertical Constellation with Bomb, I saw this collection of small Calder stabiles and mobiles. Again, notice how the shadows provide a sense of depth and play.
As I proceeded back to the main level of the East Wing, I found myself drawn, as moth to flame, to the moving walkway that transports people from the main part of the East Wing to the lovely cafe and gift shop. Except for the floor level and a portion of one wall, the area of the moving walkway is rounded, cavernous, and lined with lights that change in appearance with every passing second. The lights, coupled with the movement of the walkway itself, allowed me to create the above photo and the ones just below. The thing that caught my eye, and which I tried to capture in these photos, was the sense that we are each on a mysterious journey through time, drawn toward something that is both luminous and divine.
The ground level floor of the East Wing, like the exterior of the building itself, is a feast of geometrical design — walls and windows at sharp angles, intense colors against neutral tones of stone.
From this vantage point on the third floor, one can get a sense of the play of light, shadows, and angles in the building. In the foreground, of course, is another Calder mobile (Untitled, 1976).
This is essentially the same view, zoomed in a bit. The sculpture in the recessed area beneath the bridge is by David Smith. Note also the small Giacometti sculpture, Walking Man II (1960), on the bridge.
This is a view from the ground level of the museum, looking toward the entrance.
This wonderful little gallery features some of the cut-outs, papiers coupes, that Matisse created during the last fifteen years of his life.
This gallery is devoted to modern American art. My purpose here is to simply demonstrate how effective the East Wing curators are in their use of color, design, and lighting to display their collections.
Shortly after noon, I walked down the Capitol Mall and had lunch as "Metropolitan," a lovely restaurant owned and operated by the National Gallery.
After lunch, I went to the main building of the National Gallery to see a new photo exhibition: "Beat Memories: The Photography of Allen Ginsberg." In an age of digital color, it was great to see these candid black and white photos of Ginsberg and his celebrated friends, Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and the poet, Gregory Corso.
After seeing the Ginsberg exhibit — and treating myself to a cappuccino and a wicked tart aux pommes — I left the main building of the National Gallery and headed for my car. Just as I was leaving, however, I caught my reflection in one of the glass pyramids that can be seen in the header photo of the East Wing. Normally, I do not take photos of myself. I took the above photo, however, because the composition, which I just stumbled upon, seemed to be a metaphor for how we often see each other in fragmented and distorted light, half concealed and half revealed. That leads me to why I value art so much. I believe that art speaks a truth that words alone can never express. "Art is a lie," said Picasso, "that makes us realize the truth."
Note of Photos: Click on photos to enlarge for easier viewing.