05 February 2007

So how was the weekend?

We went to the Jasper Johns exhibit this weekend at the National Gallery of Art. I was unimpressed, and I like Johns's work. I think the problem with the exhibit is that it's too repetitive: two rooms full of targets, a few more of the "red, yellow, blue" motif, and then some body images. All in all, the repetition doesn't build meaning but rather implies, incorrectly I would add, that Johns is a one-trick pony.

We couldn't resist taking the chance to see the Matisse cut-outs, which are only open for a portion of the day:

Don't worry: I didn't use a flash. I am astounded by the amount of flash photography that goes on in art museums. I'm also astounded that the guards often don't say anything about it, or that museums don't have policies against it (the NGA doesn't bar flash photography, while the Smithsonian's American Art and Portrait Gallery does).

For children, the NGA has a "picture hunt" checklist that asks you to go from gallery to gallery: they give you the gallery number and the artist and painting names, and you go hunt it down. Our son was magnificently happy with this activity, and we went end to end after the paintings. The Shaw Memorial was on the list:

Doing the search made me realize how deep the NGA's collection is. I usually hang out in the late-nineteenth-century and twentieth-century areas, so I hardly ever venture to the western end of the West Building. Several of our paintings were down on the western end, though, so we meandered over there to seek out such gems as Sodoma's St. George and the Dragon, which is not to be confused with other versions (for instance, it wasn't the version that our son has seen a million times reproduced to ridiculous size in the NGA concourse cafeteria):

It was a good way to spend a Saturday.


Reya Mellicker said...

M.A. says she's always looking for you and your kids when she goes to the NGA. I'll admit I do, too. Haven't seen the Johns exhibit yet, but I intend to even if it's repetitive. He and especially Robert Rauchenberg (another Aquarian) are two of my biggest heroes from that era.

The collection at the NGA is awesome in the truest sense of that word. There are many paintings in the permanent collection I visit again and again. So one of these days - who knows? - M.A. and I might run into you. Wouldn't that be fun?

cuff said...

Reya, it's funny but we ran into two separate parents with children we knew -- all while we were eating in the cascade cafe.

Momentary Academic said...

Haha! Reya read my mind!