Thursday, November 3, 2011

Local Travels: National Gallery of Art: East Wing

The US National Gallery of Art can be a little intimidating. Its collection is housed in two buildings, the East Wing and the West Wing (no, Martin Sheen isn't housed there too). Don't tell the West Wing, I have heard that it is pretty sensitive, but I love the East Wing more.

The West Wing is lovely don't get me wrong, I have spent many hours in those halls and galleries, but it is also the tourist trap of the two. Ooh a Da Vinci . The East Wing is usually less crowded and has fewer collections, meaning you can spend more time with them. It is also where they house a lot of the Modern Art. Modern Art can be defined as basically anything from the mid 19th century to the current day. I realize that is a pretty broad term. If you have an afternoon, go ask an art history student, I am sure they would love to give you a better definition. More commonly I feel it is art that people look at, and say, Huh. Or Huh?  And that is what I love about it.

 It is not that I don't respect traditional art or don't find it interesting. I do. But I tend to feel a much more emotional reaction to modern art, pieces that aren't so conventional, that aren't so easy to read.  I love when I can sense that a piece is a conduit of some inner struggle, even it is a good struggle. I believe that art can show us who we really are, our true selves, and sometimes we feel like spattered painted inside. 

Last week I viewed the new Andy Warhol exhibit, Headlines, which is a collection of pieces that Warhol based on tabloid news headlines. One of the many things that I love about art is seeing the sensationalism in everyday life.

After viewing the exhibit I had to go around to say hello to all my East Wing friends.

All images below are from the National Gallery website

First, of course,  the Cy Twombly, he is one of my favorite modern American artists and I am always immediately drawn to his work. 

My absolute favoritest Jackson Pollock, No. 7. I love it so much.  If I had to steal any work or art, this would be it. Not, that I would ever want to steal art. I am big supporter of museums, but you know, if it was to save the world.
Number 7
The Alexander Calder room, where you can't take any pictures in, and they even have a guard posted there to make sure that you aren't trying to sneak any with your phone. Spoken from sad, sad experience. The shadows that all the mobiles cast on the walls are magical.  DC actually has several of Calder's outside installations, in fact I walk past one everyday, and yes, it makes me feel very classy.
Cascading Flowers
The most calming Monet. More than once, during a particular stressful day, I have walked over during my lunch break just to look at this picture for a couple minutes and then walk back. There is a pretty impressive impressionist gallery in the East Wing, which you can actually spend time with 'cause everyone is looking at the others in the West Wing. 
Waterloo Bridge, London, at Dusk
And even if I don't have to go the West Wing, I always ride the moving sidewalk in between the buildings. It makes me feel that I am in outer space. Or a disco. Or both. Alien Boogaloo.

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