Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Yesterday, after breakfast, we rode the metro into DC for an exhibition related to the cultures encountered by Portuguese explorers which is currently displayed in the Sackler slash Freer Galleries. This knot of mostly underground exhibition space, while baring separate names, is so inextricably woven that it shares a website.* I'm often confused as to which museum I'm in at any given time. The problem is intensified by the fact that the African Art Museum* and the Ripley Center's International Gallery* share space with the Sackler and Freer beneath the Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Information Center castle.* There's really no way to tell, a few floors in, which hallways belong to which museum. Somewhere in this mess is the Portuguese program we were aiming for,* but I got started looking over the other exhibits on the first floor of what must certainly be the Freer Gallery, and by the time they closed two hours earlier than we thought they would (what happened to the extended summer hours?) we hadn't gotten any nearer to our goal. Oh, well. I got to see two eight-foot wooden deity statues, numerous dancing Sivas, several fine James Whistler canvasses, and a dagger completely fashioned out of inlaid meteorite. Once the Smithsonian police had kicked us off the site, we took the metro on to the National Portrait Gallery* to see the traveling exhibition* of art from the British Portrait Gallery.* This was amazing. It was impressive seeing portraits of Lord Byron, William Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens I'm used to seeing gracing their collected or biographical works. But it was the life-size commission of Dame Judi Dench, centered on twelve feet of white canvas, dominated one of the most impressive rooms I've stood in. Soon, Smithsonian cops kicked us out of there, too. [Cavin]

Then, a 2 sided conversation ensued...

To which Anonymous RES added:

The Sackler/Freer is a seriously under-rated treasure of the Smithsonian and always a family destination when we visit DC. Over the years they've hosted some superb exhibitions of Japanese art.

Monday, September 03, 2007 8:18:00 AM  
To which Blogger Mr. Cavin added:

Much agreed. I am so thrilled that there are dedicated Asian and international arts and crafts museums on the National Mall. I live pretty close, but don’t make it down there with near the frequency these places deserve. Maybe if I did, I would eventually learn to find my way around inside them, eh?

Monday, September 03, 2007 12:17:00 PM  

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