Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Painting Number 9

As I was looking at the rest of the Philips Collection, a women informed us she would be giving a short talk in the next room about a paintings. Every morning and afternoon an education department member will give a 15 min. talk about a painting of their choosing. The painting she chose was Piet Mondrian's Painting Number 9.  I noticed the painting as I passed through its room earlier and the initial feeling it gave me was tight and measured and I prefer loose. The talk changed my feeling of the work. 

- first of all, what do you see when you look at this piece? the educator asked
one women said a city grid or a map. I said looks like you're looking down from above 
- abstraction of space
- part of theosophists, interested in mysticism
- He was asking what are the elements of painting that get to the spiritual essence?
- barest essentials, primary colors
- I like his earlier work that is passed around on a pamphlet, "Pier on Ocean" more organic, oval, brown/tan/black/white
- he was influenced by NCY grid system
- assigned emotions and spiritual values to colors...yellow=buoyancy and introversion, something higher that's why yellow box is at top of painting
- he was writing constantly as he was painting
- interested in balancing space with flatness effect
- tapping into something more visceral/spiritual, a sensory experience...How does it strike you before the intelectual kicks in?
one women says his paintings seem like restrained passion
the speaker says he was a very passionate person, a great tango dancer, and she says the women's perception is correct about the paintings


I'm glad I saw the sign in the metro and decided to go at 10:30 am


Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Over the River October 11, 2008 - January 25 2008
The Philips Collection
Dupont Circle, go left on Q street to 21st street. Museum 1/2 way up on 21st on the left. Open 10-5. $10/students

"An exhibition of more than 150 photographs, collages, drawings, and maps will chronicle the artist's process as they prepare to assemble and suspend massive silvery fabric panels horizontally over the Arkansas River in Colorado. The Philips exhibition will trace the development of this ambitious project over the past sixteen years by displaying the process and materials that will be used to accomplish the artistic and engineering feat."

a river had to be chosen that had high enough banks to attach cables to
exhibit designed by and exhibit text written by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Text is narrative like, often humorous, more personal b/c of this I think.

love collages, esp. texture created by fabric
"Over the River, 1992: pencil, wax crayon, charcoal, and fabric on paper"

Christo and Jeanne-Claude both born on June 13th 1935! Christo in Bulgaria; Jeanne-Claude grew up in Paris, Tunisia, Morrocco, Bern, Switzerland.

photos of C & JC at community meetings and schools answering questions
- meet w/BLM
people in photo look to be enjoying the meeting

- prototype test pouring 20k gallons of water on fabric, goes right through

- Arkansas river most rafted in U.S. 300,000 people/year

- french tour group, tv people, photoshoot, Christo and Jeanne-Claude are at the entrance posing for their picture and then getting on elevator! 10:30 am. The second time I see them, the first was at The Gates. 

like blow-up sections of maps accompanying drawings...combining photos with drawings and fabric!

- life-size tests in Grand Junction, CO...its neat how you can see the clouds through the fabric
- wind tests in man-made wind tunnels in Guelph, Candada

- photo of Christo's hand drawing a mark on an arial photograph... interesting within photo

- soooo many people involved

-even have steel anchor used to test cable prototype
- samples of fabric with carabiners and pully...looks like so much weight just in one sheet of fabric, thick, metalic, technology

- like how the exhibit organized as timeline, exit 2007 room

- interesting to read comments in guest book
"brilliant! I get it already...
"another waste of time and money...excessive
"Can't wait to see it
"will have to visit Colorado
"another example of man thinking he can improve nature
"I'm glad materials are being recycled...

I can't remember exactly what I wrote... just that I enjoyed seeing the exhibit about process and materials with text written by the artists and I especially like the collages combining drawings and fabric, that I am still unsure about the sheer amount of material being used...


Shoppers crowded the streets. It was a sunny columbus day weekend in Georgetown. We went just to walk and window shop. Jessica had been often, but this was only my 2nd time going. As we started our walk, I noticed a white gate partially open beside an old stone house. The house just looked different than anything else around, but it was easy to miss - sandwiched in by shops. If the gate hadn't been slightly ajar, we may not have stopped. A sign on the gate said the house was built in 1756! and this was the entrance to the back yard, one of the few remaining original house lots and only open to the public on weekends. Of course, we wandered back to see what we could. Tangled gardens, very english, a few benches, a birdhouse, a few people reading. Quiet. It was like a little mini-park/oasis we never would have guessed was back there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I think I'm just going to relay some quotes from the Ansel Adams/Georgia O'Keefe exhibition at the National Museum of American Art. This is a special, fasiniating exhibit to see, even more so, since I saw it a few months ago in Santa Fe. Beautiful to see Adam's Black and White, realistic, liquid and light silver geletin prints, beside O'Keefe's abstract, colorful, soft and bold paintings of the same landscapes, churches, natural elements. I enjoyed the show more in Santa Fe because it took place in the much smaller Georgia O'keefe Museum and the quotes from the artists were displayed large on the walls -and of course because it was in the terratory of the art-making. Only a few of the quotes were shown on the walls at the national art museum. The rest were on the labels. It is nice to see the quotes in any case to know a little more about the world views/perspectives of the artists.

"A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed, and is, thereby, a true manifestation of what one feels about life in its entirety" - Ansel Adams, 1882

"The west, in many ways, is the center of modern creative work in photography. Some would dispute that claiming New York and Boston should be considered first. In the east there is an emphasis on the social aspects of the medium; out here there is a fine balance between the social emphasis on the natural scene and on the abstract and expiramental" - Ansel Adams 1972

"I believe that the artist and his [her] art are only a part of the total human experience; the viewer in the world at large is the essential other part." - Ansel Adams 1988

I wrote down some quotes from Georgia O'keefe, but I can't find the receipt I wrote them on!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

noticing differences

Eastern Market. Since I was here last, a fire damaged the main building - the one filled with deli meats, cheeses, fruit and veg. Now all this produce can be found in the building across the street, while the damaged structure is being painted and restored. I used to work at one of the outdoor stalls every sunday. I could bring back all the fresh food I wanted for free. With all the changes, I'm not sure where to find the vendor with the best molassas cookies I've ever had, but I do find the canolis and we try yummy yellow indian curry hummus. Upon returning to where I lived, I notice a new organic food mart where the CVS used to be.

fall foliage

Just starting to turn in D.C., but, into Virginia, where I went yesterday, the colors are closer to peak. Drove along back roads. Lost, but did not matter. We cross one little, blue one-way bridge 3 times I think. So refreshing to be out in the country. Little ponds for each rolling farm it seems and the smooth water dotted with leaves on the surface and canadian geese on the shore. We see two cows chest deep in one pond. They just look at us like cows do and return to munching on water weeds. Stopping at a gas station, we hear country music from a truck and see camouflaged hunters eating chicken wings and fries at a picnic table. There are tour buses headed for the wineries. 

Every home is a mansion. We marveled at how long it must take to mow the lawns. (More McCain/Palin signs out here than Obama/Biden ones.) The blue skies look bluer because of the contrast between leaves and air. 

Arriving back home at night, the air has cooled sharply from the sunny high 70's of the afternoon. The scent of leaves and apple trees even though there aren't any apple trees near.