Thirty Minutes in the American Art Museum

Thirty Minutes in the American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. shares the same building with the National Portrait Gallery.

Within this National Historic Landmark building, of the Greek Revival period, are two amazing museums.
I had visited the National Portrait Gallery on my visit to the nation’s capital years before.
On my recent visit I was amazed at the magnitude of the open exhibition space.
Once again I was pressed for time; this was the day I would return home from my trip to Washington, D.C.

At the American Art Museum, with its marble floors, vaulted ceilings, and contemporary furniture, were works by some familiar artists.
Robert Indiana’s "The Figure Five" (1963) spoke for a generation with the words spelled out: "Eat," "USA," "Err," "Die," "Hug." (It makes me wonder if these are the components of our very existence.)

There was an immense wall sculpture by Louise Nevelson, "Sky Cathedral" (1982). It was painted black which the artist stated it conjured "totality, peace and greatness." The light bounces off portions of the sculpture which adds to its detail.

Christo’s "Package" (1961) is made of fabric and rope on wood. You could say it was not fancy or really visually appealing until you begin to wonder what is really in the package. The story told is that Christo traveled from Bulgaria to Paris, and then to the US.
This work of art represented how he felt (perhaps trapped) as he has placed a few cans or bottles under the canvas.

To my delight there was a Rothko painting, "No. 18" (1951). It was orange on top with a grey band in the center and white on the bottom. I am never bored by Rothko and even though they are similarly painted, I find them all to be unique.

So, if you are short on time (or patience), consider spending thirty minutes in an art museum and you will walk away feeling more at peace with the world as you will have experienced art, which can be something close to perfection.

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This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.