Right at the corner of Connecticut and Massachusetts Avenue sits Dupont Underground, an abandoned underground trolley system turned events venue and art space.
I must have walked past this entrance so many times, but never even knew of its existence or of its history until everyone from BrightestYoungThings to IGDC and The Washington Post kept talking about it. If you read my post last summer about“The Beach,” a giant plastic ball pit at the National Building Museum, this is it. These are the exact same balls I tossed around like a kid at Chuck E. Cheese’s last summer, except now they’re being repurposed into a real-world version of Minecraft known as Raise/Raze.”
Volunteers donated their time in order to construct some of the 650,000 balls left over from “The Beach” into brick-like structures that the design firm Hou de Sousa envisioned. With a ticket for a time slot, I was allowed to walk in and build some of my own structures. Those tickets for entry were pretty limited, so when my boyfriend warned me I better make sure my schedule was clear for a certain Saturday afternoon, I was lucky I listened. Raise/Raze is now closed to the public, but I’m eagerly waiting for news on what will go down in the underground next.
Chances are you’ve had to read Animal Farm at some point in your life. You know, that George Orwell novel you were assigned to read back in the 8th grade about a pack of pigs who overthrow farmers to establish an “equal” and “perfect” society? Well, Brandon Hill of No Kings Collective’s pop-up art installation “The Beasts of England” is a reinterpretation of the Orwell novel that forced us to examine socialism, class stratification and corruption — basically all things we’re still discussing as a society today.
Right off the bat, I knew I liked this exhibit because (a) the lit lover in me got to geek out over references to the novel like the words ‘HORSE GLUE’ written on wood/enamel letters (Poor Boxer!), and, (b) the large scale installations are not only very accurate depictions of pigs, but also plastered in color!
“The Beasts of England” is displayed at Union Market’s Lab 1270 until May 7.
Ask anyone in DC about the Wonder exhibit at Renwick Gallery and they’ll likely have something to say. Either they’ve been already, or they’ve seen enough photos on Instagram that it’s basically like they have gone.
For those of us that have visited, we’re all kinda still in awe. First off, how is it that with simple strands of sewing thread, Gabriel Dawe can create this? This giant optical illusion, this freakin’ indoor RAINBOW! You know that as a color lover, I was all about this. Second, where did Jennifer Angus get the idea, let alone the balls, to work with 5,000 exotic Southeast Asian bugs? The result is an entire hot pink room decorated in a geometric pattern that reminds me of Mexican sugar skulls. And then there was Janet Echelman‘s work. The first time I went to Renwick, my best friend Rita encouraged me to lay down on the floor to take it in all the changing colors and light. I probably could’ve fallen asleep right there if there wasn’t a bunch of elementary school kids running around my head…
If you end up passing through the city, I definitely recommend this one!
You can call me predictable, but I’ll probably still end up taking a pit stop at the nearest mural in the next city I visit. It’s kind of my thing, and I’m still not tired of gazing up at brightly colored walls, wishing I had both the balls and the talent to make something so cool. Visiting Texas in June was no exception to this little habit.
The HOPE Outdoor Gallery (HOG, and sometimes called Graffiti Park at Castle Hills) is three-stories of graffiti overlooking downtown Austin. It’s definitely a must-see if you’re trying to visit anything that “Keeps Austin Weird.” The project launched in 2011, with a little support from Shepard Fairey, aka the OBEY guy. What’s cool about HOPE is that you never really know what you’re going to see; local artists change it up all the time. And if you’re feeling artsy, you could even buy yourself a spray paint can onsite and tag a little area, too. I wasn’t feeling up to making anything, but when I reached the top level, I came across a really nice artist who let me take a few photos.
Admittedly, I thought just scooping up a semi-nice camera and tinkering around with the buttons would be enough to get me some cool shots during my adventures around the city, but that’s waaaay far from the case. In reality, all the f-stop and ISO number decisions I have to make when using the thing have me sitting here scratching my head like ‘huh?’
And yet, two hours with my friend Andy and I’m feeling a lot more confident in my ability to take the type of photo I have it in my mind to capture. Last week, we spent some time in the contemporary art wing of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and for once, I’m actually happy with how my shots came out. I know I still have a ton to learn, but I think this was a good start down the right path.