Monthly Archives: August 2012

In Need of Inspiration?

I live in a city full of inspiring history and characters. We even have larger-than-life memorials and monuments that remind us to really learn from the great men and women of the past. One is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Tidal Basin. I brought a few friends on a DC-tourist trek to see Dr. King. It was a late night, so parking was a snap and there were only about 10 other people there- the conditions were perfect to sit, think, and be inspired. I found myself asking questions like, “What kind of crazy passion was in this man to make him step out against the grain and do what he did?” and thanking God for the existence and presence of King in our society and history. Then I found myself sniffing out my driving passions and gifts and dreaming of how they could someday be used to make one life a little better. If you need an inspiration pick-me-up, visit any of our monuments or memorials late at night or at sunrise- you’ve got the city to yourself and there is a lot of space for your mind and heart to be stirred.

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The Portrait Gallery and Technology

As you know this week I’ve been highlighting a few pieces from the modern art wing at the Portrait Gallery. I hope these sneak peeks are enticing enough to get you down there because there is no way to capture what you feel in an Iphone photo… no matter how many Instagram filters you use.

Be sure to hit this fabulous wall of TVs that vacillate between a interesting tessellation of the same image and then become monitors functioning as one (like a large movie screen) displaying a single cohesive sequence. Lots of fun, and as you can see- it’s easy to feel quite small there…


The Portrait Gallery lights up the USA

It seems appropriate that during Olympic season, part of the modern art exhibition at the Portrait Gallery is a high-energy depiction of the USA. Everyone knows neon is in, but this piece really takes it to the next level. Be sure to examine the diversity between states. I loved seeing the artist’s interpretation of what each location brings to the U.S. and watching the video coverage flit between hectic public transportation and campaign ads to scenes of serene nature and children playing. Also, be sure to play Where’s Waldo and see what’s going on in Washington DC- it’s fun!


Windows of The Portrait Gallery

Chinatown boasts many wonderfully fun things… one of those is the FREE Smithsonian Portrait Gallery. When I was there last week I chatted with some women piloting a program called “Art À la carte.” They gave interesting historic facts about the building, one of which featured some graffiti findings from the 1800’s. The Portrait Gallery was used as a hospital for a few years during the Civil War and there is a modest little etching with a plexiglass covering in one of the windowsills, presumably from a recuperating patient. Try to find it if you can!

Another set of my favorite windows in the city is also found here; the Kogod Courtyard situated between the East and West wings of the museum. This sunny greenhouse is especially therapeutic in the winter when it’s too cold to actually dine or read outside.

Thirdly, check out this one on the 3rd floor… does she seem trapped behind the window or do you get a free feeling? Perhaps just inquisition? Or is she waiting for someone?


The Portrait Gallery: Hockney

Ok, if you haven’t been to the Portrait Gallery in a while… you must get to it! First of all, I just discovered a whole new section on the 3rd floor that is very cool. Tall ceilings, the gorgeous European style DC knows so well, and decadent marble floors meet modern art! This week, I want to highlight a few must-sees, or in this case, a “must-experience.”

Up today: David Hockney out of the UK. There is a 9 minute installation piece at the end of the hall on the 3rd floor. If you aren’t paying attention, the piece seems just okay. Many patrons stepped in for a quick look and left before they saw the first vari-lite color change which completely transforms the piece. This installation is like 25 artworks in one if you stay long enough to experience them all. It continues to open and unfold into all kinds of amazing, imaginative things…

I don’t want to give it all away, but here is a pic during just one stage of the light cycle. Be sure to stay for at least 9 minutes to see all the rotations- though I bet you will find yourself questioning if you are back at the beginning and staying longer!