Monday, April 2, 2012

Highlight of my Spring Break

Last week happened to be my turn for Spring Break and while I spent most of my time off doing things I'd rather not - like dealing with doctor's appointments that I have not wanted to take time from work to attend to - I also did manage to do one thing of serious joy. I actually got to spend the day in downtown DC gallery hopping with my little girl and one of my brilliant senior student artists!

The goal of the trip was many-fold...

  • He needed to do a "site visit" for a graduation requirement called the senior practicum that requires all of the graduating seniors to explore an area of interest for the year leading up to their matriculation. Because he is completely awesome and overachieving as a student artist, he picked color theory as the focus of his senior practicum!!! (If I am not conveying my excitement and pride for him well enough let me just say it outright: I AM INCREDIBLY PROUD AND EXCITED FOR HIM!!!!!!!!!!) Anyway, a portion of his practicum is to do a project so our trip to visit the galleries was meant to inform some of the design and orchestration factors of what he will be doing. (BTW - more on his project because it is AWESOME and I will definitely be featuring it on this here blog when it is finally unveiled) We were specifically looking to do some research on Installation art exhibits!
  • I needed to do a gallery visit anyway for this art research project I am doing for a class I am taking right now. I would have just as well taken a gallery day anyway during my spring break but it worked out well that I had to do it. 
  • Gallery hopping and a day in the city meant that I could spend copious time with my kid (she is a real mama's girl) as well as expose her to more visual art! She is a budding artist and at any given time she is immersed in a project (of her own dictation and inspiration) at her table in her playroom.
  • I am always hankering to go to Teaism and a day in the city definitely allowed for a trip to get a yummy bento box and a sweet finish of real mochi. 
I'm delighted to say our trip was an incredible time and adventure and we (me, my student artist, and my daughter) were able to hit everything on our goal list! We visited the National Gallery of Art, the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture garden, and the Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum.

The big winner of the day for all of us was the Hirshorn because it was the only place that had installation art and there were plenty of exhibits that allowed us to interact with them without getting yelled at - something that happened more times than I care to admit because of my lively almost-four year old daughter. #facepalm (Eh... I'm over it now that I'm sitting comfortably on my couch at home and she is being easily entertained with the latest Strawberry Shortcake movie.)

All of the below pictures are from our visit to the Hirshorn.

Our favorite exhibit of all was the Suprasensorial that specifically highlighted Latin visual artists and focused on bodies of work that fell into the categories of light, color, and space. When we first stepped out of the elevator we walked right into a big room illuminated by fluorescent lights in this formation. I love how it came out even in this camera phone shot...

The next exhibit took up a whole room filled with individual foam mattresses and pillows with projections (like the below) on a pair of opposing walls while a sound reel of Hendrix (I think?) played for soundtrack purposes. It was very "trippy," relaxing, and I easily would have laid down on any of the mattresses and fallen asleep were it not for the fact that I was there with my kid and a student and also had I not been thinking about how gross/unclean those mattresses probably are from everybody else who might have laid down on them before me (and done whatever I might not even want to think about - yikes! - on top of them!).

The next room was the ULTIMATE!!! I don't have a great shot of the whole exhibit but it was basically a room almost filled from floor to ceiling with these lengths of blue plastic tubing that you could walk through, around, and/or stand inside of. My kid had a grand ol' time doing it and got a little too lively so much that I was calling her name so much and ordering her to calm down that I'm pretty sure everyone there knew our names and was wanting us to leave ASAP. *shrug*

The next room required all who entered to don cloth shoe covers to preserve the white floors and walls. When you went in you were bathed in lighting of different colors and my kid (of course) holed up in the pink portion of the exhibit and then started going crazy and trying to run around. I KNOW. Don't even make me explain more of all of THAT.

The last room had this really cool lighting set up that reflected off of the below structure/sculpture and created a bit of a disco ball effect in the whole room. It was neat but *shrug* not entirely original or amusing since it was (like I said) so much like what you experience from a disco ball. Truth be told, I am very much a fan of disco balls but since it created such an effect, I couldn't help to be less than dazzled by such an idea that wasn't all that original. 

And that's it for my spring break gallery hopping day!  While I definitely could have gotten more out of doing such a day without my spritely child in tow, I don't think it was a total wash to have her along for the day. I believe my student artist and I were able to have the conversations we needed to have still and also my student was able to see me in a different light - something I feel like any student should be able to see of a teacher and their life away from school. Next gallery trip is one I believe I will probably take without my kid though.

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