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Posts tagged ‘contemporary art’

Re-Opening the Renwick and the Morning After

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.

Renwick Gallery facade

The “new” Renwick Gallery at dusk

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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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Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

I am spoiled in Washington D.C. with wonderful, free museums that I can visit on a regular basis. (Current government shut down not withstanding!)  So for Museum Day last Saturday, I visited the smaller Dumbarton Oaks Gardens.  Since we had some pleasant late summer weather, I thought I would show you around the grounds and take a look a the current contemporary art installation there.

garden metallion Read more

The Gates in Central Park 2005

Cristo's Gates, New York City 2005, image 2

As the East Coast prepares for a very cool spell this weekend, I thought I’d dig up some bright and joyous winter pictures.  “The Gates, Central Park, New York, 1979–2005” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude was erected in Central Park for two weeks in February 2005.  Given my love of contemporary art and temporary installations, it was a given that I would make an art pilgrimage* to see The Gates in real life.  And it was so worth it!  The dramatic orange structures really popped against the frosty ground, bare trees and grey city.  The heavy canvas flags whipped and snapped in the wind but from a distance appeared to floated and swung peacefully as they wound down the park trails. Read more

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