Monday, April 05, 2010

Hope, Ice Cream, and Modern Art

Such a wonderful, full day!
It began in the National Museum of Natural History. You can't really see it all in one day, so we saw the things that interested us most. Laurie especially wanted to see the Hope diamond.

There are great exhibits of fossilized, extinct animals. I enjoyed all of the exhibits....but the best part was having us all be together!

Posing with a mammoth - look at the size of those tusks!

We all loved seeing the wolverine, and maybe that was our favorite - but...

take a look at this two-toed sloth - it was huge! It looked to be almost the size of a tyrannosaurus rex. Maybe this was our favorite, or maybe we just can't choose one thing.

This is a huge piece of copper as long as a van - it came from the Upper Peninsula!

Jana and I on the mezzanine balcony.

Geocaching out in front of the Museum.

Jana told us about the National Gallery of Art. It has a tunnel over to the East Gallery with a moving walkway and a light show on the ceiling., not to mention an ice cream shop! So we all voted to go over there. It turned out to be the most exciting and engaging part of the whole day. Here's the way Jana described it to Tom:

Not Only! Was Dylan's favorite the art museum. We wanted to just do
a walk-through of the impressionists because of course those are
everyone's favorites. But, the impressionist wing is being renovated,
so they have a temporary home next door in the gallery of modern art.

So, we went through the walkway and down the little elevator with the
secret door and around the corner and up the other elevator, where we
were just outside the impressionists wing.

But Dylan could see through the door into another gallery full of
squiggles and blocks of color, and he went "oooh!" So, we went to
peek in there first. And then that adjoined to another room, and
another and another, and he was so excited we just kept going through
the whole permanent collection of abstract and pop art. The thing
that made him do his little boo-hop across the room to me going
"Auntie Jana! Auntie Jana!" was the Warhol Campbell's Soup can.

And we weren't just looking, he was analyzing what the artist was
trying to do and explaining why it was cool. How one canvas that
looked like a big block of grey with some red symbols on it was the
artist playing with foreground and background, and how an irregular
black polygon lying on top of a white rectangle was symbolic of good
and evil, order and chaos. And, while he was really insightful and
dead-on, he did not take it too seriously -- at one point in his
interpretations I looked at him kinda funny, and he said, "have I gone
too far? Or did you buy that?"

Boo's favorite was this Lichtenstein triptych called "Cow Going
Abstract.". He explained why it was cool separately to each of us:

I'm sure if you ask him, he'll happily tell you why it is cool, too.

We looked for a print of it in the gift shop, but we came up empty.

It was really just a very very neat thing. Who knew??
One of my personal favorites was the pastel ballerina, The Dancer by Auguste Renoir.

Another personal favorite of mine was the Vincent Van Gogh Self-Portrait. It's such a thrill to see the actual, original canvas after a lifetime of looking at prints!

At dinner time we all headed for the Old Ebbit Grill. We finally figured out that the fastest way to get around D.C. is by taxi, so we hailed two cabs and went to dinner.

After dinner we took cabs to Union Station to catch the us for our Monuments by Moonlight tour. The first stop was the Jefferson Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial is so beautiful all lighted up at night.