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Posts from the ‘USA’ Category

Washington DC: An Art and Culture Capital

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing Art Cities.  Below you’ll find a list of all the stories!

This month we also welcome a new member, Lizzie from WanderArti!  Her blog features handy city art guides and profiles contemporary artists who are inspired by travel.  Be sure to check out her site!

US capitol, autumn leaves

You’ve got to love excellent urban planning that gives you stunning views like this.

I travel all over the world looking for artistic wonders and historical places, but to be fair, I actually have it really good back home.  I live in Washington D.C. and it is a lot more than just the political capital of the US.  It is also a world-class art, culture and history destination.  From the museums to the architecture to the festivals, Washington DC is a wonderful place to live and to visit!

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Gilded Age Decorative Arts: Chicago’s Driehaus Museum

front entry Driehaus Museum

Magnificant marble front entrance to the Driehaus Museum

Nothing captures the artistic spirit of an era like a historic home.  Through a coherent assemblage of architectural elements, furniture, and decor, you can get an absolute understanding of a period’s design principles.  I recently visited the Driehaus Museum in Chicago which presents within its luxurious rooms the evolving American decorative arts of the Gilded Age.  This mansion is also a startlingly beautiful oasis in the modern business center of Chicago and definitely worth a visit!

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Exploring China and Kenya at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

It’s not every day that you can walk from Kenya to China, but that’s what I did this Saturday.  Every summer for two weeks, the National Mall is DC is transformed into a center for global culture when it hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  Over 100 artisans, musicians, performers, and chefs take up residence and share their national traditions with Washington DC.  The rich cultures of Kenya and China were presented this year and I had a wonderful time exploring the festivities!

Folklife Chinese gate

The Flower Plaque gate made of bamboo, paper, and plastic welcomes visitors into the Chinese section of the Festival.

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Memory & Justice: Ai Weiwei’s “Straight”

Whether you follow contemporary art or international politics, you’ve probably heard of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.  Renowned for his “Birds Nest” stadium at the Beijing Olympics, it was his social activism and criticism of the Chinese government that earned him 81 days of detention, house arrest and the loss of his passport.  An intelligent artist and social commentator, his exhibit, Ai Weiwei: According to What? is currently touring the US.  I had the opportunity to see it at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC last year.  I’ve been blown away by the beauty of a painting before, but it wasn’t until Ai Weiwei’s piece “Straight” that I encountered a work of art so emotionally powerful that I am still thinking about it a year after seeing the show.

Ai Weiwei, "Straight", 2008–12. Collection of the artist. Installation view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012. (Photo: Cathy Carver)

Ai Weiwei, “Straight”, 2008–12. Collection of the artist. Installation view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2012. (Photo: Cathy Carver, Hirshhorn Museum)

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Sculpting with Glass: The Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle

A few years ago I had the opportunity in Boston to see a traveling exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s glass installations while they awaited construction of their permanent home in Seattle.  I’m really fascinated by how Chihuly’s conceptualizes and builds his pieces and so I was excited to see these works this December at the Seattle Center in the completed Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Layers in a sea of Chihuly glass

Layers of brilliant glass in the “Mille Fiori” exhbit

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