Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

WONDER at the Renwick Gallery

Monday, September 5th, 2016

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The reopening of the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, was celebrated over a period of 8 months with an exhibition featuring the work of nine contemporary artists. Five women and four men created site-specific installations that occupied and transformed the museum’s refurbished gallery spaces. Visitors such as myself found themselves immersed in wonders indeed.

Official photographs of the event can seen at the online gallery, here.  To add to the record, below are scenes of three of the rooms that I captured during a visit in April.

[Note: Descriptions of the artists’ works quoted below are taken from the Renwick Gallery’s text found here.]

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Maya Lin, Folding the Chesapeake (installation, 2015)

 
“Growing up in Ohio in the 1960s, Lin watched her father participate in the fledgling studio glass movement then gathering steam in nearby Toledo. The marbles used in this installation are the same industrial fiberglass product Henry Huan Lin and other glass-blowing pioneers experimented with then, which were soon abandoned by artists as technical knowledge matured. Folding the Chesapeake marks their first use by Maya Lin and a new chapter in her decades-long investigation of natural wonders. By shaping rivers, fields, canyons, and mountains within the museum, Lin shifts our attention to their outdoor counterparts, sharpening our focus on the need for their conservation.”

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Do you see Philadelphia?

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Gabriel Dawe, Plexus A1 (installation, 2015)

“Dawe’s architecturally scaled weavings are often mistaken for fleeting rays of light. It is an appropriate trick of the eye, as the artist was inspired to use thread in this fashion by memories of the skies above Mexico City and East Texas, his childhood and current homes, respectively. The material and vivid colors also recall the embroideries everywhere in production during Dawe’s upbringing.”

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Tara Donovan, Untitled , 2014, © Tara Donovan, courtesy of Pace Gallery

“Employing mundane materials such as toothpicks, straws, Styrofoam cups, scotch tape, and index cards, Donovan gathers up the things we think we know, transforming the familiar into the unrecognizable through overwhelming accumulation. The resulting enigmatic landscapes force us to wonder just what it is we are looking at and how to respond. The mystery, and the potential for any material in her hands to capture it, prompts us to pay better attention to our surroundings, permitting the everyday to catch us up again.”

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The White House: An Evening Tour during Christmas Season

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

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Just returned from an evening tour of the White House, now decorated for the Christmas season.

The entrance to the East Wing is guarded by stalwart Penguins — volunteers, one imagines, from Santa’s polar region.

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Penguins guard the West Wing entrance

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Once inside, your journey down a hallway turns magical under a canopy of paper snowflakes:

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White House hallway with paper snowflakes

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When you reach the White House proper, a succession of public rooms greets you. One of these is the Green Room, which displays a spectrum of American art, including paintings by John Marin and Jacob Lawrence (for a daytime photo of the Green Room, click here):

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The White House, Green Room

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The White House, Green Room, with paintings by John Marin and Jacob Lawrence

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Of the many Christmas trees on display, this one in the East Room is my candidate for best (neither the fellow in the lower left nor the one on the back wall expressed an opinion):

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The White House, East Room

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Gray Day in Washington, DC

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

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Washington, DC, July 2, 2015, 2:06:45pm.

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Two Centuries, Two Halls, Two Ceilings

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

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Here are photographs I took this month of the interiors of two notable buildings in Washington, DC — the grand halls and ceilings of the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building (Great Hall, 1897) and the U.S. Institute of Peace Headquarters (Jacqueline and Marc Leland Atrium, 2011).

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View from the floor of the Great Hall, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building

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Six large skylights above the Great Hall, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building

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Ceiling decoration of the Great Hall,  Library of Congress, Jefferson Building

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View from the Great Hall’s second floor west corridor, June 15, 2015

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U.S. Institute of Peace, Leland Atrium (one critic disparaged its “lazy glass wing dangling rather drunkenly over the main atrium.”)

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The space, regimented with chairs, can be chilling.

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Yet there’s no denying the ceiling is intriguing.

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