The quiet child of the Smithsonian family of museums re-opened this November with a surprisingly bold statement. The aptly named Wonder exhibit is well worth a visit for its truly impressive installation pieces. While I’m happy to have the Renwick Gallery back, this re-birthday party feels overly flashy, just a bit narcissistic, and certainly out of character for a museum dedicated to decorative arts. While an entertaining show, I am left wondering about the future of this museum and the potential for a reinvented purpose.
Posts tagged ‘art history’
The day after Halloween, the Christmas decorations went up in my neighborhood. Then right after Boxing Day, there were already Valentine’s Day candies in stores. As someone who really enjoys the holiday season, this early decoration overkill and immediate disappearance seems like both too much and too little. That’s why I appreciate some historical perspective on the season.
18th century Americans didn’t decorate until Christmas Day and then spent the next 12 days celebrating with parties, dancing, weddings, and lots of eating and drinking. To take in the classic (and not so classic) wreaths, greens, and holiday trimmings essential for the holiday spirit, I spent a few days in Jamestown and Williamsburg, two living history museums in Virginia.
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 Death & Darkness! Take a look at all the creative interpretations of his topic at the bottom of the page.
November 1 was All Saints Day which got me thinking about this pantheon of holy men and women. The Saints can be grouped based on their spiritual achievements, like the Scholars, Leaders, Mystics and the Martyrs. For frightening, chilling stories, Halloween’s monsters have nothing on this last group! While they are revered as holy people, the lives of these Saints contain some gruesome tales of torture and execution. Since images have historically been used to educate viewers, may of the most disturbing images in art history depict the various grisly deaths of the martyr Saints.
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 Concepts in Art! Take a look at all the creative interpretations of his topic at the bottom of the page.
Art museums are sometimes criticized for being stale and distant. Mill about, look at the pieces, and under no circumstances do you touch the art! Paintings haven’t always received this degree of reverence. While today we analyze the artist’s intent and interpret the underlying meaning of the work, for centuries paintings we just decorations. Owners could change something as easily as we repaint a bookcase or substitute a bathroom light fixture. So today I want to think about the concept of “finished” art and what it means when paintings are changed by people other than the original artist.
I’m usually a much better planner than this. I arrived in Basel with a vague idea to explore the old city center because, as I’d already discovered, old Swiss city centers are amazing. Basel’s old town is dominated by the bright red Rathaus, or town hall. Already impressed by the Rathaus’ exterior decorations, I jumped at the chance to take a guided tour of what I thought was a museum inside or minimally a preserved historic interior. Even though the tour was in German (which I don’t speak), I completely enjoyed this insider’s look at the art, history, and, surprisingly, the contemporary life of the city housed inside this Basel landmark.