Washington D.C. Day 5: Art Museums and Part of Capitol Hill

I ate the free breakfast at the hotel: cereal and a bad (sweet) bagel. Then I met up with my parents and we dropped J off at the airport.

We ate lunch at Chipotle. This was my first Chipotle experience; my parents at this point in time went regularly. I thought I'd be snobby and disappointed given my experience with Mexican food in California. Nevertheless, I thought my burrito was good though not well mixed. It was also messier than most burritos. I particularly liked the cilantro-lime rice--I could eat it by itself; it didn't need to be mixed with other ingredients like most burrito fillings.

We took the metro downtown. Washington D.C. was warm in the sun and nicely green. I took out my camera and began to seriously take pictures. I also recorded the route we walked from where we emerged from the metro station to where we re-entered a different one in late afternoon

We first visited the Freer Gallery. Its collection ranges all over Asia: Moghul knifes, Indian religious objects, Islamic art, Japanese screens, Vietnamese ceramics, Korean ceramics, Chinese bronze, Chinese scrolls, and various Daoist and Buddhist objects. Oddly, it also has American landscapists such as Whistler. There were explanations of every piece in the gallery. I love it!

Next up: the Sackler Gallery. It was pretty similar, with more, say, southeast Asian jugs and more Whistlers. The only thing I have to say here is that I wrote down we quickly visited the Clash of Civilizations exhibit, and also wrote a note that we saw something (sculptures?) made using models with very detailed hands, real dirt, and real hair. I don't know if these two notes are related, nor can I find any reference to an exhibit by that name on the web.

We stopped in the Smithsonian Castle to get a snack. The Castle has a nice garden with many labeled flowers.

Next up was the Hirshhorn Museum, with its good amount of interesting, modern art. We saw Mondrian, Bolotowsky, Calder, Willem de Kooning (he's still bizarre), Clifford Still, Max Ernst, and Georgia O'Keeffe. We saw a funky multimedia installation about presidents. We visited an exhibit (perhaps this one) about lighting.

We saw the special photo exhibit on Wolfgang Tillmans. It included recent political news clippings, a whole gallery of pictures of bent paper, and a series of black squares, Memorial to Victims of Organized Religions. I don't think I need to say more about this wide-ranging, sometimes strange, artist.

The Hirshhorn's Sculpture Garden was unimpressive. You know de Kooning--the guy who makes weird paintings. Well, the garden has several ugly, mangled sculptures by him. It also has a Rodin and Picasso's famous Pregnant Woman sculpture.

Incidentally, the Hirshhorn Museum was really efficient at booting us out at closing time, even shepherding us out of its outdoor sculpture garden.

The National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden was much better than the Hirshhorn's. Almost every piece was worth talking about, most in a good way (though it too has its weirdness, such as Miro's sculpture).

From this Sculpture Garden, we headed north to Metro Center, from where we took the train to Union Station. I stopped recording my route when we entered the metro station, and re-started recording the route on a new map when we emerged from Union Station.

Of course, I continued taking pictures within Union Station. By the way, Union Station has a big food court. I continued taking pictures as we walked south from Union Station through Senate Park to and around Capitol Hill. This area has nice green spaces. One parent said, "the weather's great," but the weather was only great because we started walking after 6pm. The rest of the day was pretty warm.

As night fell, we caught a metro to Eastern Market station. I stopped recording our walking route. From the Eastern Market station, we walked a block to eat dinner at The Old Siam, a Thai restaurant. The Eastern Market area has homeless people begging; they're more noticeable there than the ones downtown (who I don't recall seeing). As for dinner, it was fairly good, a 2+ or 3- on my scale. After dinner, we took the metro and returned to our hotel.

On a future trip, I'd like to visit Eastern Market and its farmers market after they've rebuilt. We didn't bother going this trip because the market recently burned. I first heard about it when an NPR commentator profiled the market after its fire.

No comments: