art

This Week in DC Art

Happy Tuesday, friends! This is a holiday week, so you may be trying to find something to do other than simply eating turkey with family and friends (though that’s a perfectly good plan, as well!) If so, I have a few art-related things that you can check out if you want to do something different during this holiday weekend.

For starters, the National Portrait Gallery has an exhibit highlighting the history of the selfie-er, I mean, the past 100+ years of self-portraiture. Eye to I: Self Portraits from 1900 to Today showcases 75 different works that show how different artists during this period chose to depict themselves. It should be a fun and fascinating exhibit.

The National Portrait Gallery also recently acquired a photograph of Celia Cruz that is worth a trip all on its own, so if you go, make sure to pay homage to Queen Celia.

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¡Yo soy de Cuba la Voz, Guantanamera! by Alexis Rodríguez-Duarte, inkjet print, 1994 (printed 2016). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution © 1994, Alexis Rodríguez-Duarte

At the National Gallery of Art, this is the last full week that you can check out the exhibition Water, Wind and Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. If you love the sea (like me), this exhibition shouldn’t be missed. With the Dutch being personally invested in seafaring activities, these paintings have a level of realism and intensity that is rarely duplicated by other artists.

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Estuary at Day’s End by Simon de Vlieger, c. 1640/1645

Finally, if you’re spending time at the National Portrait Gallery, you might as well swing over to the Smithsonian American Art Museum (these two institutions are housed in the same building). Pushing the Envelope: Mail Art form the Archives of American Art is showcasing a fascinating subset of art: mail art. Artists in the 1960s and onward started using postal mail as a new outlet for their creativity. This exhibition has mail art that captures the spirit of the times, including pieces that mark significant political periods.

These are just a few of the exhibitions in DC this week that are worth checking out. I hope you spend a little time patronizing these fine institutions over this upcoming weekend!

 

art

“See It Before It’s Gone” Art Exhibitions

Happy Tuesday, darlings! What would a new month be if I didn’t reflect on the upcoming exhibits coming to the area?

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Photograph featured in a tribute to Senator John S. McCain III at the National Portrait Gallery

Surprisingly, there are no exhibitions coming to any of the Smithsonian Museums this month. However, there are a few exhibitions ending this month. Here’s what I’ll be checking out in the next couple of weeks:

At the National Portrait Gallery:

In Memoriam: Senator John S. McCain III (ending on September 9th)

Celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday (ending on September 23rd)

At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden:

George Baselitz: Six Decades (ending on September 16th)

Tony Lewis: Anthology 2014 -2016 (ending on September 16th)

The Message: New Media Works (ending on September 30th)

It looks like I’m going to have some very busy days over the next few weeks, since I can’t seem to stay out of the Smithsonian and I love taking advantage of being so close to the museums. Look out for some review posts in the near future!

 

travel

Review: Hyatt Regency Washington on Capital Hill

A couple weeks ago, when I attended the event at the Haitian Embassy, I stayed in DC so that I wouldn’t have to drive home late. I reserved a room at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capital Hill, a hotel that is walking distance from my job. I was impressed with the friendly staff that welcomed me as I walked into the hotel.

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I went to the front desk and was greeted graciously by a charming young lady (I wish I could remember her name – I’d give her a proper shoutout if I could!). The only downside with my check-in experience was getting to my room: the elevator took FOREVER to get to the lobby. However, the hotel is doing some renovations so the elevator delays are to be expected. Aside from that, it was a smooth check-in process.

The room was comfortable, beautiful and quiet. I really liked the immaculate restroom and super comfy bed. Sadly, I didn’t spend much time in the room, since I left out early the next morning. But the time I spent in there was wonderfully restorative.

This was a good hotel experience overall: the location is great, the room was lovely, and I had a great night’s rest there. I’d love to visit again!

international

Another Visit to the Embassy of Haiti

Recently, I visited the Haitian Embassy again: this time, it was for a cocktail-hour social event. The Embassy of Haiti is easily my favorite, and anytime I can find an excuse to go, I make it my business to be there.

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Bust of Toussaint L’Ouverture in the embassy

The last time I visited the embassy was last year, during the Around the World Embassy Tour weekend. Unfortunately, my time in the embassy was limited: it was my last stop during the tour and the embassy was closing within 30 minutes of my arrival. However, you couldn’t tell that the embassy was about to close by how gracious the staff was: the diplomats at the embassy were so charming, warm and friendly. This evening at the embassy was much of the same: the congenial spirit of Haiti was on full display.

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Photograph of His Excellency Jovenel Moise, President of Haiti

The food for the evening was catered by Gisele’s Creole Cuisine, and it was excellent! I’m fairly certain I’ve never had authentic Haitian food, so it was a real treat for me. I wish I had taken pictures of the food but alas, I was too busy eating!

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Gerard Valcin, Agoue Ceremony, 1977

The embassy is my favorite because of the fact that is absolutely gorgeous on the inside, and it could easily double as a Haitian museum. There is so much breathtakingly beautiful art on the walls that I never realized that they have a LIBRARY on site. I almost squealed out loud when I stumbled into the simple but elegant library that housed all sorts of books on Haitian history, culture, art, food, politics – you name it!

So, it’s official: I want to live in the Haitian Embassy. Just put an air mattress on the first floor and I’ll be set LOL! Seriously though, I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about the beauty of this embassy. It is easily one of my favorite places in DC, and I fall more in love with it every time I go. If you ever get a chance to go to this embassy, DO IT! You’ll be glad that you did.

art

Henrietta Lacks, An Overdue Tribute

Recently, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of African American History and Culture jointly acquired a painting of Henrietta Lacks, as portrayed by Kadir Nelson. Lacks died from cervical cancer at the age of 31, and her cells were subsequently studied and used over the past 60+ years. Lacks’s cells (named HeLa, for Henrietta Lacks) were instrumental in developing treatments for a variety of illnesses, such as polio, AIDS and Parkinson’s Disease.

I was familiar with Lacks’s story from many years back, as she was a Virginia native and never forgotten here, in her state of birth. Thus, I knew that I had to see the painting, titled “Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine”, for myself.

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Henrietta Lacks (HeLa): The Mother of Modern Medicine, Kadir Nelson, oil on linen, 2017

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Information card as displayed in the National Portrait Gallery

The painting is large and breathtaking: Lacks smiling sweetly and posed with her bible. Nelson incorporated some very special details that refer to Lacks’s legacy. As stated on the National Portrait Gallery press release:

“Commissioned by HBO, Nelson used visual elements to convey Lacks’ legacy. The wallpaper features the “Flower of Life,” a symbol of immortality; the flowers on her dress recall images of cell structures; and two missing buttons allude to the cells taken from her body without permission.”

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Close up of the background, featuring the “Flower of Life”

Henrietta Lacks’s story raises issues surrounding ethics, right to patients’ genetic information, and privacy. The fact that she died but her cells made it possible for other people to live is heartbreaking, but what’s even more tragic is the fight that her family had to undertake to challenge the medical industry that used HeLa cells without Lacks’s, or her family’s, consent.

I’m so happy that Henrietta Lacks is being featured at the Smithsonian Museum and is taking her rightful place in American history. I really enjoyed seeing this beautiful portrait for myself, and I hope that you all get a chance to check it out, too! It will be at the National Portrait Gallery until November 4, 2018, and then it will be at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. You’ll be glad that you made the visit!

food

Review: Horace & Dickies Food Truck

Several weeks back, I visited a food truck I’d never tried before. I didn’t have a taste for anything in particular, but I decided to do seafood for lunch because, generally speaking, seafood never lets me down.

My lunchtime adventures led me to Horace & Dickies, a restaurant that expanded its enterprise to include a food truck that serves lunch at different popular locations within Washington, DC.

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At the truck, I ordered the crabcake and fries, a simple meal that I thought wouldn’t take very long to prepare. I wasn’t disappointed: the crabcake was prepared quickly. I was handed a bag and I returned to my desk where I ate my meal.

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An abbreviated but adequate menu

My short explanation is this: I liked the fries more than the crabcake. Don’t get me wrong: the crabcake was good. But I wasn’t blown away by the flavor of it. I’ve eaten many crabcakes and have a good basis for comparison (not to mention, I’ve made some incredible crabcakes from scratch, as well), so I know when a crabcake is “good” and when it’s “awesome”. And this one was “good”: not the best I’ve ever had, but definitely worth the money and a solid effort.

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My meal

To be fair, I probably would have enjoyed it more with remoulade sauce (I asked for some, but it wasn’t in my bag). Also, the sandwich cooled a bit on my walk back to the office: everyone knows that piping hot food is better than when it’s cooled down.

Would I eat here again? Absolutely. The food was good and I suspect that, if eaten immediately, the sandwich would be outstanding instead of just “good”. I’m really looking forward to trying Horace & Dickies again so that I can give a followup review for the crabcake!

 

life curation

This Month’s Plans

Can you all believe that June is here already?! My mind is blown by how quickly this year is moving along! I’m really pleased at how I’ve been progressing with my goals and I’m excited about what I’m envisioning for the rest of this year.

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This month will have a lot of activity, both on this blog as well as on my social media accounts (Twitter and Instagram – feel free to follow me if you haven’t already!) Over here, I’ll be bringing more information about visual arts, self-improvement, and creating/curating a quality lifestyle. On Twitter, you can see all of the latest art and culture happenings for Washington, DC and Richmond, VA (two of my stomping grounds). Check out Instagram for daily photos recapping some of my daily shenanigans, as well as a special series highlighting incredible artists that are showcasing their work on Insta.

I’ll also be posting a goal update at the end of this month. Yes, I’ve been working on those goals! And I finally updated this website to show my goals on the righthand column of the page. Yes, overdue, but better late than never, right?