Monday, January 4, 2010

New Favorite Art Hideout for the New Year

For the new year, I've got a new favorite place to look at art. During a brief re-introduction to the National Gallery of Art yesterday, I discovered the Tower Gallery in the East Building. Wow! A tiny chapel for art, at the symbolic center of our nation!

From the second floor, I climbed up a beautiful, yet hidden, pink spiral staircase towards fuzzy sunlight. At the top, I found a small, high-ceilinged room, lit by skylights above, with a little cave of an elevator vestibule attached: inner and outer sanctums. The show on view was a tightly curated overview of Phillip Guston's work, with large paintings in the first room and drawings and lithographs in the cave. I could easily move back and forth between the two spaces, making connections and comparisons between their contents. I love looking at art in smaller spaces like these. The intimate confines invite contemplation, study, and deeper thinking than big white echo-y gal-arenas.

Yesterday was the last day for the Guston show. However, the Internet sez that a Mark Rothko show is next for the Tower Gallery. Hurrah!

(image is Phillip Guston's painting Ladder, from 1978, part of the NGA's collection.)

ps -- I was also reminded yesterday of the rad-ness of Andre Derain. Rock!

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