Saturday, December 30, 2006

More From the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery

I can't call myself an expert when it comes to the Smithsonian's American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. I've only been there once since 1976. I only managed to see parts of the third floor. I have no idea what treasures await me on the lower levels. I didn't consult the floor plan either. Thus, I have no idea where one museum starts and the other begins. After seeing the Joseph Cornell exhibit. I just aimlessly wandered around. I was star-struck, mesmerized, and unable to focus--just view and enjoy. The images here show one of the ornate columns on the third floor--the only place I went. Another shows the Archives through one of the windows. The tiled floor and the raised walkway are in another. The other pictures show a driftwood horse that stands in a long corridor of twentieth century artwork. I forgot the artist. The multi-colored image is in an almost hidden alcove. It is an installation by Hockney. I accidentally set off the alarms but no guard ever showed up. The strange interior is the view into another installation by a married couple, Kienholz. It was a fabulous rendering using the remains of an old hotel with mixed media. The boot is a "memory jar". Janet Kozachek compared my Icon I, Icon II, and Icon III to the folk art of memory jars. I had never heard of such a thing, but then I found several on display. All in all, I look forward to late February. Steve and I are returning to Washington, DC. Partly, we are coming for two antiquarian book auctions. Partly, we are coming in order to avoid Radenko Pavolvich's LifeChance Ballet in Columbia (a.k.a. the "Brooklyn Mack" show) It would be just too strange to attend, to watch, to wonder....I will be just too wonderful to return to DC, to return to this museum, to try purchasing more engravings. Anyway, maybe when I come back I will find the other floors and make sense of the dual museums under a single roof. As for this visit, it was a fairy-tale come true.

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