Friday, July 26, 2013

Art Therapy Day

Yeah, it's been a while. Other than seeing Travis Tritt at the Birchmere, which was really an excuse to see my cousin, I've been busy in my non-art life. I did try to see the Art Institute in Chicago when I got there last week for our conference, but it was blazingly hot. I got as far as the lobby and had to cool down. Then I saw the long line and the expensive ticket, and promised myself a day at our own (free) National Gallery of Art instead. So that was today.

The great thing about the National Gallery is that it's like visiting an old friend with new stories to tell. I never have to prepare in advance, and I always have a great time.

Today's new story was a treat, the massive Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes exhibition, subtitled "When Art Danced with Music." Of course, you can't take pictures in the special exhibitions, so go to the site, virtually or physically (closes October 6), and enjoy.

The Nijinsky room was where everyone clustered, of course, and just seeing photos of him in performance, in rehearsal, on tour, standing with Charlie Chaplin... oh my.

Do you realize that 100 years ago I could have seen Nijinsky set the ballet world on its head? Do you know what that means? I can't imagine what I should be seeing now that people will say, a hundred years from now, how they envied me for such a breathtaking opportunity. (At least I got to hear and see Clay Aiken perform live a whole bunch of times! Take that, future peeps.)

I'm running out of room in my teensy apartment for very expensive exhibition books, but here is a link in case you're interested: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929 (Hardcover, $60). I did get the DVD, a T-shirt, and a new biography of Nijinsky by Lucy Moore (Profile Books, 2013). And I even remembered not to try to whip out my Smithsonian membership card and ask for the 10% discount. National Gallery of Art is not a part of the Smithsonian.

So here are a few highlights of the rest of my visit with old friends and their new (to me) stories. I was particularly taken by the Calder room, with the lights and shadows of the whimsical mobiles.

Another one playing in the light and shadow was Giacometti's bronze Chariot (1950):

But the installation that really knocked me out was Bruce Nauman's incredible Fifteen Pairs of Hands (1996):

And from the irony-impaired caption writers, a reminder to keep your hands off the hands. *g*

Lots more photos to sort through; might post more later. Download as you wish; to save high-resolution version, right-click and open the images in a new tab, then click again to open large-size image. Right-click again and save. Please credit photos to: C. G. Wagner.

Love, hosaa,
A day well arted.

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