Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smithsonian Museums


Last week I enjoyed a kind of homecoming as I played tourist in my adopted home city of Washington, D.C.

I started off at the National Gallery of Art, where one of my favorite pieces is Van Gogh's Vase with Roses:




Standing inches from the painting is a brush with greatness. Since it is not encased in glass, the viewer can see the artist's strokes, the blended colors, even the places where the canvas peeks through. Created in 1890, near end of the artist's confinement at the asylum at St. Remy, the painting uses a limited palette of mostly greens and ivories, but the artist's sensuality shines through the passionate thickness of some of his brushwork, the precise detail, and the vibrancy of the light.

Later, I visited the Air and Space Museum where a new permanent exhibit, "America by Air", recalls some of the significant moments in commercial aviation.




Then, I crossed the Capitol Mall in search of fossils at the Museum of Natural History. I found what I was looking for in the form of a 3D HD movie of a U2 concert in Argentina. Or maybe it was a celebration of socialism; it's hard to tell the difference. I could have lived without the homage to the United Nations' Declaration on Human Rights. But the HD was sharp enough to reveal the bulge of Larry's triceps, the strings on Adam's bass, the weave of the Edge's skullcap, and the lines on Bono's face. At times, the camera shot from several rows back, as the throng of worshippers waved hands, cameras, and articles of clothing. With the sound cranked up enough to indicate earplugs, it was just like being there, except not as bad.

5 comments:

Reverse_Vampyr said...

I LOVE going to the Smithsonian! Haven't been since I was a teenager. I'm so jealous.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Evelyn said...

Hi Leslie! It's great to see you!

I've never been to the Smithsonian... never been to D.C.! I love museums and the whole place would be like a big museum to me! So much majesty and so much history! Thank you for sharing!

Gray said...

The Smithsonian is great, and you can either spend days there or just sample exhibits. You are very lucky to have it in your backyard.

pcervieri said...

here's a great on-camera interview with Peter Shapiro, the producer of U2 3D:

http://www.scribemedia.org/2008/04/11/u2-3d

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