I was down at the NGA last weekend mainly trying to find a place to read where I wouldn't be bothered before I headed over to some friends on Capitol Hill who were putting me up for the night, since, after all, this was my first trip back to DC as a visitor rather than a resident in 15 years.
After a bit of reading and a little consternation that the movie that day, Antonioni's Deserta rossa, didn't start until 4:30 and would last until 6:30, therefore ruling out my being able to watch it, I decided I should really try to see something while at the gallery. For the past eight years it's been an incredibly rare opportunity that I've been at any museum without at least one child dragging me off long before I wanted to go, and you have to take advantage when you can. So I wandered into the West Wing to take a look at the Martin Puryear exhibition.
Puryear is from D.C., although his artistic materials seem more suited to some rural farm -- lots of rough wood and mesh enclosures that reminded me of chicken pens -- although highly stylized chicken pens. Some of the pieces are remarkable. I enjoyed the scale of the Desire (pictured at top of page, and hopefully you see what I mean about there being something rustic about the whole contraption. It almost seems like one of those old style threshing set ups but broken down to minimal form and shifted components. Very beautiful in my opinion.
I got my gallery fix in, but I couldn't help wishing I had a little more time to see the Antonioni film and maybe even the concert they generally have on Sunday evenings in one of the west wing atriums, staples of our pre-children days. Afterwards it was off to Capitol Hill and a delicious dinner with a little wine and lots of conversation -- after all, DC schools opened the next day and my hosts have a third grader -- and oh yes a little more reading.