Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekend Report: Opening Ceremonies and Smithsonian Art Museums

As expected, Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies were kinda confusing, totally bizarre, a little bit boring, but also completely fantastic. The best part was the Chariots of Fire/Mr. Bean montage (which you can watch here) – it was the perfect mix of the most inspirational with the most ridiculous. And we ate themed food: UKsadillas! (I apologize for that.)

After our Sunday morning runs, SpeedyKate and decided not to O.D. on Olympics, and instead meandered down to the Mall for some much-needed museum time.

We started with a Joan Miró exhibit in the Modern Art Wing of the National Gallery of Art. It was so interesting!  Miró’s is mostly the kind of art I can appreciate after reading about his life experiences and objectives, but not the kind of art I particularly enjoy. Except the Constellations Series – I really liked those.

Up we went to the modern art tower, which tends to be very hit-or-miss; last time it was a hit, but this time Barnett Newman was definitely a miss. Color me ignorant, but vertical black lines on white do not communicate Christ on the Cross…sorry.

We moseyed via the Space Mountain-esque underground walkway over to the main gallery to see a huge George Bellows exhibit. You’d probably recognize Bellow’s boxing paintings, and his works mostly focus on “the urban landscape of New York.”

After the National Gallery, we swung by the National Museum of African Art. Though so-called “traditional” African art really isn’t my jam (masks just don’t do it for me), this small museum tends to have excellent modern art exhibits. Yesterday did not disappoint – we saw Lalla Essaydi Revisions.

  • Moroccan-born, Essaydi became an artist after relocating from Saudi Arabia to the United States. She believes her work, with its intimate portrayal of Moroccan women, would not have been possible without distance from her homeland.

  • Revisions brings together, for the first time, selections from each photographic series, rarely exhibited paintings, and a multimedia installation. While each work and genre speaks volumes on their own, from the ensemble emerges Essaydi's personal narrative and critical reflection on her experience as a liberal Moroccan, Arab, African, and Muslim woman living across cultures.

After the museums we continued on our walk – all the way to Fro Zen Yo at Farragut (oh hey Cinnamon Roll flavor!!!), and then to Foggy Bottom to buy groceries. Cookie butter and coconut milk and cashews…get excited!

After hours away, clearly it was Olympics time again. I consider this time period as my Olympics warm-up – I enjoy watching swimming and gymnastics and all the other stuff, but really (well duh) I’m excited for Track and Field. Go USA!