How Could I Have Slept on Corcoran?

Posted on January 2, 2011

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I’d driven by the Corcoran countless times, known it to be a Washington treasure, but hadn’t so much as stepped in until recently. The result of my long-overdue visit? Let’s just say my visual senses enjoyed every moment.

If you’re a lover of visual aesthetics, you’ll adore this place.

From the building’s architecture to the design of its exhibitions, the Corcoran is clearly a place to take one’s time and absorb. In other words, don’t do what I and my out-of-town visitor did when we drove over to 17th street and parked at the one-hour meter next to the gallery! Take Metro, and enjoy yourself. (And get the most from your ten dollar admission. Experiencing the Corcoran is worth much more than ten bucks … but still: Get the most out of it. We’re still in a recession.)

Since I’m a fan of history I started with the Historic American Art collection and was blown away by the huge scenes of Niagara Falls and the American West. This room also held amazing works from the colonial era that entice viewers to step into the time & locale that witnessed the paint’s first encounter with the canvas in the frame. The seemingly perfect preservation of this art is remarkable.

I also had a bit of time to check out the Photography and Media Arts gallery. One exhibition there has photos of people in Afghan society during the 1980s. These photos leave one much to contemplate in light of the contemporary relationship the United States has with that nation. Plus the photos really have a way of forcing one to see the humanity in the faces of those that modern media often paints with a broad brush.

My mischievous side took over when I walked through the rotunda that held Spencer Finch’s sculpture. I’ll just say the acoustics at various parts of that room could have held my attention for the remainder of the day. And, of course, the “cloud” above was worth the visit.

The Corcoran Gallery is absolutely fantastic. I must admit, though, I’m looking forward to an exhibit that won’t hit town until October: “30 Americans.” It will bring the work of various artists, old and young, together to explore Black identity in America.

That said, this isn’t the last you’ll read about Corcoran on Gen X Aestheticism.

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Posted in: Artsy Flair, Museums