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!

 

life curation

Winter Socializing: My Game Plan

Happy Hump Day! I’m already looking forward to the weekend, but I’m two days away and trying to make the best of it. As the days get shorter and the air gets cooler, I’m considering what my social calendar will look like. I hate having to go outside during the winter so any social events I attend must be pretty special in order for me to participate.

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My ideal calendar for December 2018 to March 2019 would involve the following:

  • A monthly art event
  • One wine event during the season
  • Two or three workshops (less than 3 hours long each)
  • One long workshop (more than 3 hours)
  • Biweekly dinners with friends
  • One date per week

I’m an introvert, so this schedule is ambitious for me. In fact, there’s a good chance I could line up my calendar to include everything I’ve written above and I still may end up flaking simply because I don’t have the energy. But what I’m learning is that it’s really important for me to set social goals, much like I set career, education, health and financial goals. Social goals can really help me with managing the emotional lows that I tend to experience during this time of the year.

As much as I love to isolate myself, I really benefit from interacting with others in small doses. If I don’t overdo it, being around others tends to lift my spirits and give me some energy. So I’m going to spend some time today figuring out which events to add to my calendar. And, once I have those all lined up, you can look forward to some reviews and discussions regarding the stuff that I’m doing as I ride out this fall and winter. Wish me luck!

art · life curation

How I Prepare for an Art Event

As you all know, I LOVE great art events. I haven’t been to one in a few months, though I expect that will change in the upcoming weeks. With my soon-to-be busy calendar on my mind, I thought I’d share how I prepare for art events. This is a super-brief guide, but it may be helpful for someone that’s never gone to an art event before.

First, I figure out which artist and/or movement is being honored. I’ll do some research so that I’m knowledgeable about the subject being discussed. Even if I don’t talk to many people at the event, I still like to be able to follow whatever is being discussed.

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Next, I set a goal for the event. Am I there just for fun? Am I looking to make new connections? Am I only seeking more information about the artist and/or movement being honored? I come up with talking points if I plan to socialize.

My look for my first art gala

After that, I determine the theme of the event, as well as the dress code. I plan my outfit and I always, always pay attention to my shoes: if I’ll be standing for a while, I want to make sure that my shoes will be comfortable for the duration of the event.

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My look from my last art event

I then determine the location and how long it will take me to get there. I hate being late so timing my travel is imperative.

On the night of the event, I get dressed and I fill my purse with the necessities, including touch-up beauty items and business cards. I’ll make sure that my event tickets are in my purse and on my phone (if I have digital tickets). Then, I go, have fun, and take lots of pictures!

That’s my very (very!) abbreviated guide to prepare for art events. Do you all go to art events? If so, let me know what you do to prepare!

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New Exhibitions Coming to Washington DC

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Happy Thursday, friends! Before we welcome the month of June, I thought you all might enjoy a list of some of the exhibitions coming to DC during the month. Have fun planning your museum trips! I know that I will.

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Kreeger Museum, June 5 – July 31, 2018: The art for this exhibit is coming from the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon. This museum is fairly new: it opened to the public in October 2016.  This is a special exhibition because it is the first group exhibition of 21st century Portuguese art of the 21st century to be presented in the United States.

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Fabergé piece on display at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden, June 9, 2018 – January 13, 2019: As a lover of all things bejeweled and antique, Peter Carl Fabergé’s work is an eternal fave. So I won’t miss this exhibition at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden in DC.  Fortunately, this exhibit will be here for several months, so if you can’t make it this summer, you have until early 2019 to visit and check it out.

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Daguerrotype of Louis Daguerre, one of the fathers of photography

National Portrait Gallery, June 15, 2018 – June 2, 2019: The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) will be exhibiting daguerrotypes collected over 50 years. This early form of photography was the predecessor to photography as we know it today. The collection has some very famous faces, like P. T. Barnum and Matthew C. Perry, within it. The museum is celebrating it’s golden anniversary this year, so you can bet that there will be a lot of great exhibits throughout the year. 

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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

National Mall, June 27 – July 1, 2018; July 4 – 8, 2018

June ends on a strong note with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. This year’s festival will highlight Armenia, Catalonia and the Sisterfire Concerts. It’s technically not an art exhibition, but if you’re in the area, you can’t miss the festival. This is always a great opportunity to take in international culture over several days.

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Women’s History Month in Washington, DC

As many of you know, I work (and play) in Washington, DC. Since I’m in the District several times a week, I try to explore and take in the city as much as possible during my breaks and (occasionally) after work. Out of curiosity, I looked up what is happening in DC during Women’s History Month (WHM), happening right now, until the end of March. I’m happy to say that DC didn’t disappoint, with several museums and other institutions hosting WHM events for the public.

You can find a list of events on the Women’s History Month website (click here for more information). I’m really eager to go to the Library of Congress, to view the exhibition, Drawn to Purpose, which puts the spotlight on women illustrators and cartoonists. Even if you can’t make it in person, you can view the exhibit online. I’m also excited to see Michelle Obama’s portrait over at the National Portrait Gallery.

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Anita Kunz’s Tugged is one of the photos featured on the main page of the Drawn to Purpose exhibition at the Library of Congress

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The portrait of Michelle Obama, painted by Amy Sherald, is a popular new addition at the National Portrait Gallery

Now, on this blog, WHM is EVERY month. But I love that DC has so many events that reflect the month’s theme. I’m looking forward to sharing all of the photos with you as I tour around and have a good time in DC!

art · life curation

Meet the Artist: Carrie Mae Weems

On Tuesday, February 6th, the National Gallery of Art (NGA) is hosting acclaimed artist Carrie Mae Weems. This event is a lecture that will discuss Weems’s Kitchen Table Series, a set of photographs capturing (as NGA describes it), “[…] the story of a woman’s life as seen through the intimate space of the kitchen—the traditional sphere of women and a site of sanctuary, creation, shared experiences, and emotional honesty”.

Carrie Mae Weems

(Photo of Weems, courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation)

Weems has won numerous awards during her career, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. It’s going to be a treat to listen to her discuss her work during her lecture at NGA. You won’t want to miss this event!

art · culture

Return of the Drawing Salon at The National Gallery of Art

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(image courtesy of ClipArtPanda)

Recently, I shared that the National Gallery of Art hosts Writing Salons, to assist all interested in getting in touch with their inner author. However, the Writing Salons have a counterpart that is equally as, if not more, popular: the Drawing Salons. NGA has finally began accepting reservations for the Drawing Salons, and I’m here to tell you all about it, both as an art enthusiast and as a former salon attendee.

Similar to the Writing Salons, the Drawing Salons are hosted monthly and the salon topics vary for each session. The Drawing Salons also run from now into the springtime, though they end one month after the last Writing Salon session. There are also only 5 Drawing Salon themes, as opposed to the 6 Writing Salon themes available this season.

The topics being explored during this season of the Drawing Salon are as follows:

American Impressionism

Cézanne’s Landscapes

Picasso’s Palette

Rodin’s Sculptures

Matisse’s Cut-Outs

I attended one of the Drawing Salons in 2015, and thoroughly enjoyed it. NGA provides supplies and is well equipped for each group of budding artists. I found that the art instruction was solid and appropriate for any skill level. I liked that the groups were small enough that the art instructor could provide each attendee a measure of one-on-one attention. But the most impressive part of the session was the art history lesson provided to attendees: the historical context deeply informs the sketch that attendees create during the session.

So, much like the Writing Salons, if you have a chance, GO! You won’t be disappointed!