October 21, 2007

Art And History

Yesterday we decided to be a little touristy, and bone up on our culture. It was a bit exhausting, and yet, we are enriched.

First up we went to the new Edward Hopper exhibit at the National Gallery. This was a lead-up to an opera we'll be seeing at the Clarice Smith Center, which is based on some of Hopper's paintings.

The exhibit was laid out pretty well, following a chronological format and each room centered on a general theme or period. It was definitely popular, with a long line just to get in!

The paintings were full of rich colors on saturated canvases. We saw many examples of Hopper's most common themes - isolation and the space that exists between people, even when they are in the same room. His paintings never portray action. Instead they take place before or after something has happened, leaving us to decide what the action was or will be. My favorite was a work I hadn't seen before called "New York Movie". While the audience enjoys the film, a lovely usherette stands in an alcove, contemplating something that we can only guess at.

After that we checked out the National Building Museum. It wasn't nearly as interesting as we'd hoped, although there was a pretty good exhibit on the changes various parts of DC have gone through over the years.

We took a break for a few beers, and then joined Stef. Her gift for ScottE's birthday was a walking tour about the assassination of Lincoln. It was actually very interesting, and our guide painted a vivid picture of the evening's events, including the conspiracy to murder not one, but four members of the administration. I was particularly riveted during the discussion of the attempted murder of Secretary of State Seward.

It was all great fun, but we are definitely tired today!

On a side note - if you haven't heard, apparently Dumbledore was gay. I did NOT see that coming. I need to fine-tune my gaydar!


Stef said...

I really want to see the Hopper exhibit. Thanks for the tip on going on a weekday - I'll use an upcoming vacay day for that and beat the lines.

I just posted about Dumbledore, too. I didn't see it coming at all, but rock on JK!

ScottE. said...

I'm so excited about Dumbledore...another something for the Christian Right can get their undies in an uproar over...

The exhibit was really nice. True...to many people...I look forward to trying to go again, perhaps after studying the book of prints.

The tour was amazing. The tour guide was a great narrator for the evening and as the story came to an end I found myself in tears. You know how it's going to end and it just breaks your heart. Thanks for the great gift!