Category Archives: museums

We’re off to DC in the morning…

being picked up at the house @ 4:15 am. (ugh.) Danny’s working, I’m vacationing. Anything we (I) need to see while I’m there, you DC folks? (Dave Vogt, I didn’t give enough warning, I know you’re a workin’ boy, could you meet us tomorrow night at La Tomate, Dupont Circle? (We’ll pick up the tab) Or if you have time off one day that fits, meet me for lunch someplace? (We’re there tomorrow afternoon through Thursday afternoon.) We’re staying at L’Enfant Plaza. (sp?) Right off the Mall.

I plan to check the “things to see” once I’m there. It’s a given I’ll go to the East wing of the National Gallery of Art, and to the Hirshhorn. Anything else is up for grabs.

The Life Zone

Three women have been kidnapped from abortion clinics and are being held for seven months–until they all give birth. The film, which appears to cut right down the middle, examining the topic from both sides, offers a powerful, anti-abortion climactic twist.

And no, this isn’t satire.

1. Make List; 2. Do Stuff

This is a flaming brilliant concept for an exhibition. (It’s based on a recently published book.) At the Morgan Library & Museum through October 2, 2011. Drawn from the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.

The more you study the Morgan exhibition, the more you realize that lists are everywhere, and that list making is an essential human activity — a way not just of keeping track but also of imposing order on what would otherwise be chaos. Your address book, a restaurant menu, the instructions on the MetroCard machine, prescription-drug ads spelling out possible side effects: they’re all lists. So are those annoying thoughts at the back of your head reminding you that you have books overdue at the library and still haven’t sent a thank-you note to Aunt Gert. Artists are no different, no less preoccupied with keeping track, though most of them have better handwriting than the rest of us, and their lists tend to be a little neater.

Claro y Obscuro: Elsa Muñoz (National Museum of Mexican Art)


National Museum of Mexican Art. May 20 through November 27, 2011.

Chicago area artist Elsa Muñoz paints still settings and meditative moments in time, suggesting something has just transpired, or that a new sequence of events is about to unfold. At times eerie, the work reflects her personal exploration and interpretation of the chiaroscuro technique–an approach where the shadow itself acts as a dominant character in the scene.

“These works are as much about what is plainly revealed in light as they are about what is concealed in darkness . . . the relationship between light and shadow as metaphors.” (Elsa Muñoz).

you cannot experience it all

Seriously, you can’t, it’s impossible, so just stop trying, and surrender to the goodness you do see:

Consider books alone. Let’s say you read two a week, and sometimes you take on a long one that takes you a whole week. That’s quite a brisk pace for the average person. That lets you finish, let’s say, 100 books a year. If we assume you start now, and you’re 15, and you are willing to continue at this pace until you’re 80. That’s 6,500 books, which really sounds like a lot.

Let’s do you another favor: Let’s further assume you limit yourself to books from the last, say, 250 years. Nothing before 1761. This cuts out giant, enormous swaths of literature, of course, but we’ll assume you’re willing to write off thousands of years of writing in an effort to be reasonably well-read.

Of course, by the time you’re 80, there will be 65 more years of new books, so by then, you’re dealing with 315 years of books, which allows you to read about 20 books from each year. You’ll have to break down your 20 books each year between fiction and nonfiction – you have to cover history, philosophy, essays, diaries, science, religion, science fiction, westerns, political theory … I hope you weren’t planning to go out very much.