The Smithsonian "Castle" was the first Smithsonian Museum. It doesn't house many exhibits today, but the building and gardens are beautiful.
It was raining, so we didn't get a chance to see the gardens.
My son Colin and daughter-in-law Lindsey - wonderful and long-suffering tour guides.
Inside, it reminds me of the museums of my childhood.
You can see it from the Hirshorn Sculpture Gardens
One of the art museums I visited on my recent trip to Washington, DC, the Hirshhorn Museum (one of the Smithsonian's twenty museums) made a big impression on me. I was excited to see works by many of the cutting-edge contemporary artists I had learned about in school, but had never had the opportunity to see in person.
Part of an exhibit of photographs by Carolee Schneeman
Swiss artist Nicolas Party's Sunrise, Sunset stretches 350 degrees and nearly 400 feet around the museum's third-floor round gallery. Visitors who walk around the ring enter new enveronments in each section, from a mountaintop in cool blues and purples to a waterfall splashing next to peaks in pinks and reds.http://insider.si.edu/2017/06/vibrant-nicolas-party-landscapes-embellish-hirshhorns-third-floor-circle-gallery/
The main attraction at the time was a huge installation by Chinese artist and dissonant Ai Weiwei, who is now out of prison and living in the U.S.
Excerpts from Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshorn
"A collaborative artist project, Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn features the East Coast debut of the monumental installation Trace, which portrays individuals from around the world whom the artist and various human rights groups consider to be activists, prisoners of conscience, and advocates of free speech. Each of these 176 portraits comprises thousands of plastic LEGO® bricks, assembled by hand and laid out on the floor. The work foregrounds Ai Weiwei’s own experiences of incarceration, interrogation, and surveillance. In 2011, he was detained by the Chinese government for eighty-one days and then prohibited from traveling abroad until 2015..."
"...Like Ai Weiwei, the individuals represented in Trace have been detained, exhiled, or have sought political asylum because of their actions, beliefs, or affiliations. The subjects were chosen by Ai Weiwei and reflect his response to information provided by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, as well as his own independent research..."
It's pretty impressive that all these are made from legos. It must have taken forever to plan them out!
It was an amazing and thought-provoking exhibit, which made me think about the power of art as social activism. Art can send powerful messages.
I hope you enjoyed my little tour. Next up: The National Gallery, the American Art Museum, and the Renwick!
*Please excuse the weird type sizes and other oddities in this post. Blogger has apparently decided I can't be allowed to decide how large anything can be or where it should be placed. After correcting everything numerous times, I finally gave up and let it be.