Saturday, December 5, 2009

What I Did On My Vacation, Part 1

1) The National Museum of African Art.
This little museum, hidden underground, does a good job of displaying their African sculpture pieces from the Walt Disney-Tishman collection. We always go to this museum first. This time there was a special exhibit by Yinka Shonibare, MBE, (image above) with a beautiful film he made, "Un Ballo in Maschera" (image below) that was so mesmerizing we stopped by a second day to watch it again. A second film, Odile & Odette, had an ironic side note (click here).

2) The National Museum of American History.
Here Susan found the Julia Child kitchen exhibit and an unexpected exhibit called Picturing Words, the Power of Book Illustration (image below).We wandered into a section on transportation called America on the Move and had to hurry out at closing time before we finshed seeing all of it. That's the magic of museums that provide good explanations on their display signs -- you think you aren't interested in the subject but you stop to casually glance at the sign and an hour later you are still in the exhibit.

1) The Bureau of Printing and Engraving.
Zero. Zip. Nada. No chance to see our stimulus money being printed because we weren't in line early enough to get one of the tickets.

2) The Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery.
We've seen a lot of their premanent collection already but made a special attempt this time to find the Civil War soldier graffiti that was scratched in the wood near a window - found it! Very hidden but we knew to ask about it (3 different people before we got the directions) because on the flight up Susan sat next to a woman who worked for the Smithsonian and told her about it. A special retrospective exhibit of William T. Wiley's work (image below) was featured but I wasn't very impressed with his art. Sorry, William.

3) Walked around the White House to see the special tent (huge, looked like a white greenhouse) set up for the State Dinner and Michelle's garden. Took family pictures for a Nigerian group ... who had just moved to Texas. Heard lots of different languages, saw lots of happy tourists and the public Christmas tree (undecorated).

4) Took the Metro to the National Geographic Museum and saw (again) Terra Cotta Warriors. The display of the pieces was not as good as in the show we saw in Houston but the signs and explanations were much better. And each ticket was $10 cheaper. Had a long walk (instead of Metro) back to the hotel because some idiot parked a van in the middle of a street and then threw a Molotov cocktail in the street and ran away. Naturally, the bomb squad had to shut down that street and the nearby Metro stop to do some tense searching of the van. Fortunately, it was nothing but an idiot, but since we were just 4 blocks from the White House it caused a lot of delay. DC'ers seemed to take it all in stride.

More to come. I've thrown a lot of links and information at you but it won't be included on the final exam.


ArtPropelled said...

Lucky you to see the Walt Disney-Tishman collection in person. I have the book and love it. The Yinka Shonibare piece is rather striking. Off to follow the link.

Seth said...

You guys really packed a lot in (no surprise there)! That first piece makes quite an impact.