Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 14, 2010: Washington - The Sculpture Garden, Natural History, Cleveland Park

On July 14 I headed down to the Smithsonian to start on a long list of museum sight-seeing. I ate my lunch in the National Gallery Sculpture Garden, which was mostly modernist metal sculpture that really isn't to my taste. However, there was one interesting sculpture of a tree by Roxy Paine: shiny metal, branching deciduous tree without leaves. It's amazing how nature constructs this kind of complex but ordered structure so easily, and human efforts just can't replicate it. But the birds perched on top didn't seem to mind. [Just read an article about him in the New York Times - - all of his material is standard industrial piping, fitted together then ground and finished into final shape, which is pretty astounding]

After that it was off to the Museum of Natural History. The main mammal and ocean halls are geared to kids - too noisy and visually cluttered to get much out of them. But upstairs there are some older-style exhibits: a great collection of skeletons, a temporary exhibit on anthropological findings from skeletal remains of Chesapeake Bay settlers, and another temporary exhibit of 100 years of history at the museum.

Then back home, overshooting by one subway stop to get off at the Cleveland Park subway stop, where I got some decent vegetables at an organic market, and got a library card at the local branch. After dinner Mark and I walked over to the Adams Morgan neighbourhood, where we checked out the restaurants (extensive) and retail (meagre).

Photos: the famous elephant in the Natural History atrium, a walrus skull, tree sculpture by Roxy Paine

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