Thursday, August 6, 2009

It came from Columbus...sorta.

We just got back from a quick trip to Washington, D. C. Tom was there to read grant applications for the NEH, so I got to spend all day Tuesday exploring the Mall. We realized that we hadn't been to DC for at least ten years (we were very happy to realize we'd never set foot in the place during all of W's tenure in the White House).

The last time we were there, we saw this Roy Lichtenstein sculpture, "House I," on the Mall, but the the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art, where the piece is now located, was just then under construction. It's completed now and it's a beautiful space to wander around. And "wandering" is definitely needed to appreciate the weird trompe l'oeil effect of this piece!

I also saw an exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum titled "1934: A New Deal for Artists." It's a collection of just a handful of the 10,000+ works of art created in 1934 for the short-lived Public Works of Art Project.

I've been totally fascinated by the WPA arts projects for several years now, but had never heard of this particular initiative...but fell in love with a number of the paintings on display.

This particular painting by Douglass Crockwell, titled "Paper Workers," interested me because of the weird Lego-like human figures...and because Crockwell apparently was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1904.

Lichtenstein attended Ohio State University and received both his B.A. and MFA in fine arts there in the late 1940s/early 1950s, and his late sculpture "Brushstrokes in Flight" is one of the first things you see upon landing at the Columbus airport.

After years of being warehoused outside in a niche between the parking garage and the airport itself, the local powers-that-be finally wised up and moved it inside. Any wonder these artists left Columbus?

To see a slide show of all the works in the 1934 exhibit, click here. Starting in late January 2010, it'll be touring the U. S., with stops in Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne, Orlando, Oklahoma City, Montgomery, Muskegon, and Portland. I highly recommend seeing it if it's showing near you!


Pam said...

I believe that the print in our parent's basement suspended in the pipes in the basement bathroom is a Roy Lichtenstein. You *know* you can fine anything in the basament! T
BTW that cottage sculpture is really cool. Still can't quite get the perspective on it.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago when Buck Reinhart was mayor of Columbus he tried to give "Brushstrokes in Flight" to the mayor of Genoa, Italy. Fortunately stronger minds prevailed.


Rosemary said...

Dad, I forgot about that *and* about Buck Reinhart, generally! How funny. Whatever happened to that poster that was in the basement, anyway?