DC 2016: Sunday May 1st

The good news was that I'd obviously adjusted to the East Coast time zone. The bad news was that I demonstrated this by waking up early though I'd been out late room-escaping the night before. But time and tourism wait for noone. I was soon up and about.


The Newseum was a museum of journalism. I guess they were still figuring out what that meant. Some exhibits were about modern history; others about the process of journalism-ing. It didn't say much about anything in particular. It felt like the curators were still trying to figure out what the museum was about. Or perhaps there were factions with duelling ideas.

I feel bad saying bad things about the Newseum since it also has a pretty moving monument to fallen journalists. It's also a cautionary monument: plenty of room for more pictures on that wall. Be careful out there, folks.

There was a paragraph of interpretive text about modern whistleblowers. It didn't say what crimes Chelsea Manning exposed, just the debate about whether the news should publish "unauthorized leaks". As if the answer to that question didn't depend on the severity of the crimes being whistleblown.

There was a pen that Gorbachev had used to sign something. Why was it here? Because Gorbachev's pen had broken, so someone from the news had loaned him this pen. This pen was more historically significant than most; there was a journalism angle… So you could sort of see how it ended up in this place, but you kind of wondered if it didn't belong in some storage bin somewhere.


Family friends the Wilhelms came into town. We had lunch, talked about things to do in San Francisco and in DC.

We took a photo at the Navy Memorial Plaza, where there's a statue like that at the Golden Gate Overlook above Fort Baker north of San Francisco:

After lunch, we went to the National Gallery of Art to see a display of Prints.

American Art

The Wilhelms had had enough of standing on hard marble; after looking at Prints, we sat and talked in a museum cafe for a while. Then they headed back home. I was kind of tired of standing on hard marble, too, but eager to see DC's sites while I was still, y'know, within 1000km of the place, so I kept going.

I knew that the Smithsonian had big piles of art, more than I'd have time to see during my visit. How to see the stuff I'd especially like without getting distracted by works that would be much like those I could see in other places? It occurred to me that DC might be a good place to look for works by American artists. I hauled out my phone, pointed my browser at the Smithsonian's web site, and searched the collections. I searched for [charles sheeler]; they had a few pieces by him, but only one on display: it looked like it was a photo of a salt and pepper shaker? Well, that was unusual for Sheeler; maybe I'd check it out. I searched for [tauba auerbach] but there was nothing on display. That Sheeler entry said it was at the Luce American collection, over in the portrait gallery building, so there I went. I expected to find photos, but I was wrong. Sheeler mostly did photos and paintings, but he'd made a physical salt and pepper shaker and they were on display in a display cases of strange odds and ends.

So you might think I was disappointed in the American Art collection, but it's not so. The Andrew Moore print The Rouge Detroit MI gave a where-are-they-now view of a favorite Sheeler subject. There were even good things that had nothing to do with Charles Sheeler and/or salt shakers.

And so I looked at American art and portraits and eventually even I couldn't ignore my tired feet. I headed up north, acquired what turned out to be a comically oversized stromboli sandwich, somehow ate it, and went to bed to sleep and digest.

Monday: Zoo, Sackler [^]

comment? | | home |