Washington DC overflows with art. From the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, where the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in North America is (Ginevra de/Benci) to the Claes Oldenburg’s Typewriter Eraser, Scale X and the visually fantastic Roy Lichtentein House in the sculpture garden, you can spend weeks filling your senses with art. And….it’s almost all FREE!
Seeing the Star Spangled Banner in its new setting (I saw it when it was behind the wall with the pendulum back in the 1990s) was so insanely powerful.
I remember being at the Louvre and trying to get to the Mona Lisa. After you fought your way through throngs of tourists snapping photos, you could only look at her behind a velvet rope and she is encased in bullet-proof glass. There is nothing restful about seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Yet I stood all by myself gazing at Ginerva de’Benci in Gallery 6 with no rope, no crowds, no glass. This painting was overlooked by many people and it amazed me that so many people just walked by. I was able to marvel at the soft, misty atmosphere da Vinci creates without being hurried along.
The only thing I didn’t like about the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC was that the numbering of the galleries seemed random and I kept getting lost. Unlike other museums, the docents here were on the snarky side and acted like I was stupid for getting lost. Take a look at this floor plan. It’s like a bunch of little cubbies, almost like one of those mazes where you have to figure out how to get out of them.
House 1 by Roy Lichtenstein looks like a wooden sculpture of his pop-art style…until you walk by it and the house transforms itself into a three-dimensional structure. It’s a mental/visual trick that is stunning. It looks like a house, but it’s not. Ah-mazing!
The Eraser sculpture makes me think of my assistant, who is in her late 20s. I remember when I showed her carbon paper…she had no idea what that was. I’m sure she would have no idea of what the Eraser sculpture represents either.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the art I saw in Washington DC. We spent a week there and I know I could easily spend more time and still not see everything. The Metro is convenient, the city buzzes with excitement, tourists from all around the world are everywhere.
Now it’s Your Turn! Tell us what your favorite piece of artwork is in Washington DC.