Icebergs Ahead!

Over the summer, Renee and I went to check out the summer installation at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Every summer the museum hosts, in its cavernous Great Hall, a new interactive installation.

The projects are usually in collaborations with smaller design firms, architects, designers, artists, or issue-based organizations. In the years prior the museum has rebuilt stonehenge, invented creative labyrinths and indoor gardens, and even a full beach filled not with water – but white balls like a ball pit that even adults could enjoy!

This year’s installed ICEBERGS, was designed by the James Corner Filed Operations. The entire installation was built from re-usable construction materials and recreates a waterscape of floating icebergs!

The entire installation was designed to be a holistic view of the massive ice structures, especially from the perspective that most humans do not get to experience….

….underneath the waterline!

The blue netting creating the waterline encapsulated the entire installation was set about 20 feet high! The haze of blue definitely gave the affect of being in a foreign world!

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Exploring ‘under the sea’ navigating around floating ICEBERGS!

Visitors could even relax on lumps of ‘ice’ (white beanbag chairs) underneath the ‘water’ line.

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Many of the icebergs had various arctic facts printed on the side and raised awareness about global warming: the ever increasing problems of icebergs melting and breaking away.

Few of us can go inside icebergs in real life but in this installation we could! The tallest and largest icebergs had stairs for us to climb to the very top and see above the ‘waterline’.

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There was of course, heavy discussion on if there was or was not room on that floating door for both

Jack and Rose…

… it was an installation about icebergs, Titanic themed conversations were impossible to avoid…

…as we climbed to the top of the iceberg!

“I’m king of the world!”

The ‘tops’ of icebergs breaking the waterline!

There was even a slide to go down the iceberg for the kids!

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(or if you were a kid-sized adult!)

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♣ 

ICEBERGS was at the National Building Museum until the first week of September. Get more information about the delightfully amusing and creatively collaborative National Building Museum summer projects here!

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‘Pop’ Meditation

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Tori and I had an almost surreal experience when incidentally, attempting to experience pop art! We were down in Charlottesville enjoying our reunion weekend when we decided to checkout the Fralin!

We meandered in and ended up having the most surreal experience!

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We inadvertently got roped into a senior citizens art experience group. To our utter surprise, (and a little horror) we were stuck in an hour long guided meditation and discussion about Andy Warhol and the notions of an ‘icon.’

The tour guide and group of senior citizens went around to each piece of art and set up chairs to view the item. The guide would then lead the group in a series of thematically related meditative exercises focused on the art object.

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We escaped about two hours later and were able to stroll through the exhibit on our own but it was certainly  illuminating!

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The Fralin Museum of Art, formerly the University of Virginia Art Museum is the teaching museum of the University of Virginia located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Nestled among historic houses boasting lovely Jeffersonian Architecture the Museum is only one facet of the University’s extensive arts program housing the more traditional arts!

A New Republic

This summer the Virginia Museum of Art in Richmond, Virginia was showcasing an absolutely brilliant exhibition featuring the works of Kehinde Wiley.  

Luckily for us, our friend Austin went to check it out!

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On Tuesday I attended the VMFA’s Kehinde Wiley exhibition and was more than satisfied and impressed by his work.

As I expected to be.

Allow me to preface my comments with fact that I have a great appreciation for visual art, though I’ve never studied art.

I don’t know the history nor do I know the proper terms and techniques, so forgive me in advance.

So, I walk down the stairs to the lower level of the VMFA, hand my ticket to the attendant, and as soon as I turn the corner I meet Michael Jackson’s tender, innocent, and boyish yet fierce and powerful gaze peering back at me as he is perched atop a majestic white horse bowing its head in a curtsy.

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In this painting, Michael is wearing the same regal armor as Felipe II in Rubens’ Felipe II on Horseback.

This incredible, larger than life, portrait set the tone for what I was about to experience throughout this exhibit; Black (or People of Color) presented in heroic, beautiful, and classic poses, made famous by white artists with white subjects, to show that  modern western culture has icons and personalities, famous or not, of color that are just as important and grandiose as those of centuries ago.

As I continue through the gallery I notice the other gigantic portrait pieces set in the backdrop of classical art pieces.

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I saw the famous Jacques-Louis David inspired piece, “Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps”  with a man clad in Timbs ( classic Timberland boots) and trendy street-wear military fatigues striking the same pose as Napoleon Bonaparte.

Then, further into the gallery, two young black men striking the same pose as that struck in “Two heroic sisters of the grassland” in a piece by the same name.I wish I had the art history vocabulary to really do these portraits justice as to how they compare to their classical counterparts because his work is astounding on its own, but I imagine that someone with the historical knowledge of the classics would have a much more profound experience and appreciation for his work.

His mastery goes far beyond the medium of oil paints. This exhibit showcased incredibly detailed facial sculptures, smaller portraits with gold leaf detailed frames, a video presentation, and, most impressive to me (because I don’t understand how this art form is produced)  several of stained glass works. Truly, a magnificent exhibit!
Kehinde Wiley is a contemporary American treasure and this exhibit completely validated my Kehinde Wiley fan club membership.

Wiley’s works have often been in the background of tv shows and movies and the artist often engages with greater cultural projects across the country. More information about the artwork of Kehinde Wiley and upcoming projects can be found at the Brooklyn-based artists website.
A fully illustrated catalogue published by the Brooklyn Museum and DelMonico Books/Prestel accompanies the VMFA exhibition and can be purchased through the VMFA gift shop site.