ONE through ZERO (The Numbers) — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letters or Numbers

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letters or Numbers.

We have been taking a drawing class to help us think more clearly about photography. Today was field trip day and we visited the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The East Wing starts with Picasso before cubism and ends with Mark Rothko. The idea seems to be to take the viewer from something recognizable to something totally abstract with a sensible path between.

Since “the sensible path between” is up lots and lots of steps, we generally take an elevator to the top and find ourselves totally confused until we walk down a couple flights towards realism. There is an outdoor passage between two towers at the top of the museum where they often display something we can recognize after gazing at the Rothkos. Currently, the display features large metal numbers against the Washington skyline. They may only be numbers and we are not sure what they mean — if modern art is intended to have meaning — but we used them to steady our nerves so that we could continue our stroll through modern art.

This art installation, titled ONE through ZERO (The Numbers) by the American artist Robert Indiana (1928-2018), was constructed from 1978 to 2003 using Cor-Ten steel.

Honoré Daumier’s Ratapoil — Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Heads or Facial Features

This is our entry in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Heads or Facial Features.

Honoré-Victorin Daumier (1808 – 1879) is one of our favorite artists. When we are in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris or the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, we make sure to visit his caricatures of political figures.  On a recent visit to the National Gallery of Art, we focused on the statue of Ratapoil.  According to the National Gallery of Art’s webpage Ratapoil, 

… the swaying, strutting Ratapoil is Daumier’s brilliant stab at the political ambitions of Louis-Napoleon, who would proclaim himself emperor of France in 1852. … He fashioned Ratapoil (Ratskin) as one of Louis-Napoleon’s agents-provocateurs, a cudgel-carrying bully whose job was to stir up crowds, using bribes and force when necessary, to convince the people to return Louis-Napoleon to power.

 

The original statue, only 44.13 cm (17.4 inches) tall, was cast in clay in 1850 – 51, but not cast in bronze until 1891 after Daumier’s death.

 

These photos were taken on October 4, 2017 with a Canon 100D.

National Gallery Sculpture Garden

The National Gallery of Art maintains the 6.1 acre National Gallery Sculpture Garden on the National Mall. The plantings are American species of trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground cover. At the center of the garden is a large ornamental pool with sequenced water fountains. (In the winter, this pool is a skating rink open to the public.)  Around the pool is a courtyard edged by long concrete benches.

Between the pool area and the decorative fence enclosing the entire garden are  21 large sculptures among the plantings. Our favorites of these sculptures are pictured below.

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Roy Lichtenstein, House I

For more information, visit the official website for the National Gallery Sculpture Garden at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/visit/maps-and-information/sculpture-garden.html.