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National Gallery (update)

July 27, 2011

I’m cleaning out all the “drafts” that I accumulated last fall before I abandoned – I’ll admit it – my blog about all my summer travels. My writing was calling. I had classes to teach. I was tired of getting lost in my blog posts for hours at a time.

Here are quite a few photos from the National Gallery, which was my first day on the Mall. I walked into my Uncle’s house, oh, sometime in the early afternoon, I believe, and he asked me where I wanted to go. After telling him I had no idea, grabbing my camera and making sure I had my wallet, he was pointing out the Jefferson Memorial, the White House, and a few other sites from his car before he told me to take the Metro back to Crystal City as he pulled up outside the National Gallery on the Mall. “There’s the East. There’s the West,” he said pointing to each building. I told him I’d call him when I got to Crystal City so he could pick me up, and off I went.

While I am no art expert, maybe less than a novice, if there is a moniker for that, there is something about American art that hits me, opening up my mind to new considerations and imaginations like a good piece of literature. I’m probably partial to American art because I haven’t experienced life outside of the U.S. I’m like many others: I relate better to what I know. I hear my students saying, “I really enjoyed this piece, because I could relate to it.” Well how, students? Well how, Adam? I guess I like the potential for greatness that much of the images I enjoy depict. George Bellows. Andrew Wyeth. George Caleb Bingham. There is something real about these works.

Oh, I believe this slideshow depicts some of the paintings where the artist paired fruit with dead animals. What’s the deal with that? Still life? Dead fruits and vegetables because they have been picked. Dead animals. Is that taking “still life” too far, or just down a connotative highway?

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