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Pauline Lerner

Vacation pics

August 18, 2006 at 5:55 PM

I haven’t gone away for a vacation, so I’m going to post some photos of a local tourist attraction and pretend that I went there on vacation.

When I was a kid growing up in Baltimore, my parents would bring me to Washington DC, about 40 miles away, to see the Smithsonian museum and the National Gallery of Art, and I thought of them as my local museums and art gallery. It was not until years later, when I grew up, that I learned that not every city has such gems.

The East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, a bright, airy building designed by I. M. Pei, houses art from the twentieth century and later. The outside is faced with marble and flanked with sculptures and fountains.

East Wing, National gallery of Art

Plaza between the East Wing and the West Wing. Bram, I hope you’re reading this. I photographed the hotchix with you in mind.

Bronze statue by Henry Moore

The interior of the East Wing is a fun space. The shape is unusual – triangular – and there is a lot of open space and light within. The light pours in through the glass prisms of the ceiling, and the gallery is sunny inside, even on a cloudy day. All these things contribute to a sense of movement in the East Wing. There is real movement, too, in the form of a huge mobile by Alexander Calder which is suspended from the ceiling. I like walking around on the floor of the atrium and the walkways of the upper floors to see the Calder mobile. It looks different from every vantage point. There is one place on one of the ramps where I always feel that the mobile is going to bump right into me, but it never does. Even the people inside the Gallery seem to be part of the design, and they move around, too.

Atrium of East Wing

Calder mobile

The best part of my vacation is that I can go back almost any time.

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