Archive for ‘Museums and Galleries’

June 10, 2012

*Spooletti Sunday~Not to be Confused with Spaghetti Sunday

by heatherkp

I’ve had a spectacular time exploring and experiencing as much as I could possibly take in over the last two weeks of the Spoleto and Picolo Spoleto festivals here in Charleston.  This isn’t my first time attending Spoleto USA but it is my first time as a resident and living within walking distance of several of the venues.  These two festivals bring in world class talent, including musicians of all range and style, opera, chamber music, comedy acts, dance and installation and visual arts. The companion Picolo Spoleto brings many of the same kinds of performances but from a more local range of talent.

The highlights of this year’s event for me were;

Jake Shimabukaro a virtuoso Ukulele player from Hawaii, this guy can play anything on his uk!

Rebirth Brass Band, a well known New Orleans Jazz ensemble who recently won a much deserved Grammy for their funky modern and always fresh takes on the brass tradition!  Apparently they are always back home and playin local in NO on Tuesdays…

Return to the Sea:Saltworks an installation by Motoi Yamamoto at the CofC Halsey Institute.

We also caught the lovely jazz vocals of Cécile McLorin Salvant, some cool blues on the dock of Bowen’s Island by The J Edwards Band with Big Daddy Cade  and the free Picolo Sploeto finale concert at Hampton Park last PM (including Reggae and Motown bands). There were certainly a few things I really wanted to see but didn’t but I’m very grateful for everything we did get to experience!

Here are a few events from the *Spooletti Festivale you and many of the locals may have missed include the following:

Signor Agazi and his Vegetales;
This performance art piece has been acclaimed in major vegetable-producing countries around the world.
The Signor has artfully crafted as many of our vegetable friends as you can imagine from the simplest organic material, using the almost lost art of papier-mâché in the Romany manner. They’re big and they’re talking! Join the fun as the Signor interviews each one and does all the voices that so realistically bring each one alive with its own vital life story.

3½ hours, 2 intermissions.

Iron Horse Ensemble;
Join this gifted ensemble of performers in an unusual on-site work. This Dubuque-based troupe has been instrumental in renewing widespread interest in things associated with trains and their equipment for a new generation of fans. The rage in trainspotting owes much of its current popularity to this group.
Join them at the many local grade crossings to experience the excitement they bring to the movement of some truly big-ass specimens.
All aboard!
6-10 hours of non-stop pleasure viewing.
Continuing education credits available.

Socks…Socks…Socks;
This temporary touring installation supported by a generous grant from the folks at the International Garment Workers Union offers more than you can believe in its encyclopaedic display of socks through the ages. You’ll marvel at the sheer variety and abundance provided by this diverse collection of more than 12,000 pairs of socks. Be sure not to miss the special “Laundromat of the Lost” memorial tableaux.

Fishing on the Yallu River in Plum Blossom Time;
Love opera? Finally this premiere of the long-awaited US tour has arrived on our shores. This tender tale of forbidden love bewtween a fisherman and the beautiful young daughter of a brandy merchant has everything for the whole family. The dark overtones of this tale vanish in the final wondrous moments of an impeccably performed work that had crtics from Shangai to Guang Dong raving about its purity and sensuality. Real Chinese performers clad in their working class costumes elevate the soaring melodies of authentic folk classics such as, “Where is my Pencil?”, “For the Love of a Bicycle” and “Dim Sum Summer”.
You will leave the auditorium shaking your head.
2 parts, 2 evenings with catered samplings from the famous Mr. Chow’s.

Woodpecker Chorale;
last year’s hit of the fringe festivale returns with even more excitement on the main stage. Be sure to reserve early. The lines were long last year. Who would believe the cadences and dance beats from hip-hop to Mozart that these critters can produce, especially on the back of a Stradivarius? An amazing blend of nature and conservation hits the stage with the arrival of the Ivory-bill solo. Bang on a can has nothing on this!
Hourly during daylight.
Bring suet balls for ticket discounts.

Readings;
Famous best-selling author Fentwhistle Pinckney reads passages from his educative novel, “The Piazza’s of Charleston”, a companion volume to the “Chimneys
of Charleston” and “The Stoops of Wentworth Street”. Never has the life of Charlestonians behind the curtains been so barely revealed. Learn the real cause of the war between the states.

*Spooletti Festivale-A spoof written by Walt Dunlap copywrite 2012 printed with his permission here.

And I wish I could have also seen;

 

May 12, 2012

Weekend Walking::US Botanical Gardens

by heatherkp

While I was up in the DC metro area I played tourist a couple days and did the expected amount of walking.  On this particular day I went downtown to meet my dad for lunch. Since he works only a few blocks from the US Botanical Gardens I knew I would have to pay a visit to the gardens right next to the Capital building.

It was a really beautiful day (which I can’t say was true of every day I was there, the weather was a roller coaster with temps ranging from the 50’s to 80’s!).

I knew I would catch some spectacular blooms but due to the early warm temps I was lucky to find the roses were in full bloom along with Peonies (which don’t do well in the south:(), clematis and many other late spring early summer bloomers.

I also found these baby ducklings (only 1 day old)!

My favorite were the tropicals blooming inside the conservatory though.  I found some unusual Hibiscus, many orchids, banana and other tropical foliage plants.

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time now you have probably noticed my love of floral/foliage photography.  I was in my own little oasis on this walk through the gardens.  Much like a walk by the ocean, walking through a garden takes away all my worries and I am truly brings me joy.  The beauty of flowers is one artistic muse I just don’t seem to ever tire of.  Where have you walked this week?  Did you find your muse along the way?

September 9, 2011

Friday Field Trip:: Charlotte and The Mint

by heatherkp

On my way home from Penland I stopped and stayed with a friend in Charlotte.  We had one day to do some sightseeing and since we are both artists we decided to do a bit of window shopping and hit a museum or two.

[Side Rant:: window shopping, since most shops in Charlotte are closed on Sundays…still?  Come on, just because it’s the South doesn’t mean everyone wants to sit around and do nothing…geeze!]

Anywhoo, we did go to the relatively new Mint Art museum at the Uptown location.  I was so pleasantly surprised by this museum, what a wonderful collection of contemporary and older works of various mediums including paintings, sculptures, photography, fashion and various “craft” mediums such as ceramics, metals and furniture.  I thought this museum was the perfect size, not too big and not too small.  It took the two of us about 1 1/2 hrs to look at all of the exhibits (3 in total).  Some of my favorite pieces are below and I do apologize that I don’t have all the artists names for the different works.  You will just have to get yourself to the Mint the next time you are in Charlotte, you will not be disappointed.

I was able to see the Gary Noffke- Attitude and Alchemy exhibit (which is still running but only till Sunday!) and From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland as well as works from the permanganate collection.  Overall I was exposed to a lot of artists I was unfamiliar with and I’m so glad they are now on my radar! 

Margery Ryerson  (a student of the Robert Henri School of painting)

Lynn Mapp Drexler

Sheila Hicks

Nick Cave

Hildur Bjarnadottir an Islamic Fiber Artist living in Charlotte.

Henry Siddons Mowbray “Rose Harvest” American 1887

I don’t have the names for the following artist work but they captured my eye as part of the “permanant” collection of art and craft works.

A couple other artist work I took note of but don’t have photo’s of are Australian Fiber Artist, Annemicke Meinand French painter Maurice de Vlaminck.

Right next door to the Mint is the Bechtler Museum which we didn’t get a chance to go into but there was a sculpture exhibit of works by Niki de Sante Phalle outside across the street from the museum in the park.  These sculptures were an exploration of “mythology”, they were sparkly, larger than life, bold, colorful and quite fantastical!

Charlotte has the charm of the south but has some quite cosmopolitan museums, restaurants and really interesting architecture!  If you have the opportunity to visit Charlotte I’d certainly give 2 thumbs up to these side by side spectacular art museums!

July 22, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Tudor Place

by heatherkp

While I’m away in NC I’ll leave you with one more post and a field trip my Mom treated me to a few weeks ago.  Tudor Place is right in the heart of Georgetown, just blocks away from the shopping and dining district.  Even though I’ve lived in the DC metro practically my entire life I can’t say I’d driven by or even heard much about this little jem of a museum.  This is a private museum with both house and garden tours available.  The garden tour is free and open to the public almost every day.  The house tour is the real treat though.  What is amazing is that all the items in the house are family heirlooms and antiques of origional provenance to this family home.  The home was built by the grandaughter of George and Martha Washington, Martha Custis Peter, and her husband, Thomas Peter.  It was lived in as a private residence by several generations of the family for over 180 years until it was turned into a museum (by family trust) in 1988.  If you like history and historic preservation you will want to see this museum home.

I couldn’t help but sneak in one little picture inside…

and I might have pinched a small bit off this stunning coleus that I’d never seen before.  Have you seen this one?  Apparently there are hundreds if not thousands of cultivars of coleus!

I’m not sure of the provenance of the garden but it seemed to contain many plants that would have been used in the historic period of the homes use.  I wish I knew more about this plant which I’d never seen before.  It smells heavenly, like Jasmine and the flowers open a beautiful deep lavender and fade as they mature to white, isn’t that different (it seems that colors in plants usually intensify)?   I would love to find this plant but I don’t think I could maintain it indoors without having good light or a green house.  Have you ever seen Brunfelsia astralias?  It comes up under rare plants!  What a joy to have seen and smelled it in bloom.

July 15, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Textile Museum Green

by heatherkp

I saved a few field trips up for you for my time away.  I hope they keep you coming back and you find them just a little interesting.  Back in June (which was not that long ago, boy time is flying this year!) I went to see the Green exhibit at The Textile Museum.  If you have been following my blog over the last couple years or if you happened to read my old blog you know that the Textile museum is probably my favorite museum.  It is a little hidden jem in DC, not far from Dupont and nestled in a row of Embassy housing.  I love going there and upon arriving at the street of the museum I feel transported to a more serene place, it’s almost gentile and reminds me a bit of Savannah or Charleston.  In the midst of the city here is this small treasure that’s quite and peaceful.  I wish that more people knew about the museum but I’m also glad that for now it stands in a hidden corner of the city.

The current exhibit is all about Green: The Color and the Cause:: re-purposing of materials (textiles) for textile art.   For someone who is a huge fan of the museum you might think I’d follow the rules but I’m a bit of a rule breaker when it comes to taking photo’s…so here are a few.  I don’t have a lot of details but the online catalog is quite extensive and you can find additional information about the artists and the cause here.  These are just to whet your appetite…Enjoy:)

I do apologize, some of these photo’s are not the greatest but that’s what happens when you are sneaking around behind the back of the guards trying to get a few shots.  I hope these peak enough interest for you to visit the online catalog or better yet, the show in person.  There were a tremendous number of contemporary entries and a slide show that shows the work of all of these talented textile artists.

April 22, 2011

Celebrating Mother Earth

by heatherkp

Happy Earth Day.  Today I am grateful for the rain that mother earth is providing for all the beautiful spring blooms, buds, all the seeds I planted this week and the overflow from our roof that’s going into our rain barrel!

As I reflect on Earth Day, I have to say thanks to my HS Environmental science teacher for so passionately sharing his love of the environment with me.  My parents did their fair share too but if it wasn’t for Corky I might not be an avid composter, Master Gardener and recycler today.  I remember the first Earth Day I celebrated in DC in my senior year of HS.  A couple of friend and I skipped classes and headed down to the mall for the big Earth Day celebration, concert and vendors etc.  Any excuse for us to get out of class was a good one come final weeks of senior year!  It was so hot that day that many people waded into the reflecting pool by the Capital to cool off.   We would surely have been escorted to a cell if we tried that sort of thing today!  Ah, the good old days.

Never the less, I did stop and reminess upon this day as I was downtown yesterday taking in all the gorgeous spring blooms around the mall.  There are so many beautiful gardens in DC.  Some are right out in the open and some are meandering between the many museums.

I’ll be celebrating Earth Day tomorrow when the rain clears up by heading to the local park I hike in and picking up trash.  If you are in DC this weekend (or wherever you are!), do enjoy all the beautiful April showers and flowers.  This is also the last weekend of the annual Orchid exhibit at the Natural History Museum.  This year they did not dissapoint!

What will you be doing to celebrate and honor Mother Earth?

April 1, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef DC

by heatherkp

Today’s post is going to be short on words and heavy on photo’s.  “To briefly summarize The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef (HCCR) is a project of the Institute For Figuring (IFF), a Los Angeles based non-profit educational organization whose mission is to develop creative new ways to engage the public with science, mathematics and the technical arts.”- IFF & HCCR  Hyperbolic geometry is creatively modeled by the forms created through crochet.

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.” by Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim

Demonstrations of crochet are on display during exhibit hours.

This ongoing project has had over 10 exhibits worldwide with one of the most recent and current exhibits on view now at the Sant Ocean Hall, Focus Gallery, Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History with contributions from over 850 participants who collaborated in crochet and assembling this coral reef.  Another exhibit also currently on view is The Bleached Reef at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (NYC, NY).  Each coral reef exhibit is a unique installation with different contributing artist and different themes.

If you or your kids are fans of the spectacular wonders of the underwater world I would highly recommend you take a visit.  One of the fascinating things about the exhibit is the unique materials that individual contributors used.  The majority was certainly various types of yarn but I also spotted recycled plastic bags, wire, beads, VHS and cassette tape, plastic zip ties and various other materials.  I’m sure you could make a game of “I SPY” at the exhibit to identify more variety of materials.

I loved the way they arranged this exhibit in colors that spanned the rainbow.  It seemed that every color and perhaps color combination were represented.  The forms range from super realistic replicas of coral formations to shapes that are beyond the wildest imagination and look to be straight out of a Dr. Seuss book.

While we are on the subject of coral reefs I recently got to see the short film “The Coral Gardener”.  The purpose of this exhibit and the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is to educate and bring awareness to the world’s disappearing reefs.  Did you know that coral can be propagated like a plant and cuttings can be taken and “rooted” to replant the reef?  This award winning short film shows how scientists and volunteers in Fiji are doing this.  If you get a chance to see it, it’s a truly a sign of hope for the worlds reefs.  I hope you will get a chance to view one of these spectacular exhibits yourself!

February 21, 2011

Motif Monday::High Art vs. Street Art

by heatherkp

Another Monday full of Motif’s for your inspired use!  Today I’m sharing images from what I’m calling High Art, murals on the ceilings and walls in cathedrals and other ancient buildings.  We visited the beautiful Saint-Martin Church in Saint-Remy-de-Provence that had a lot of great motifs on the walls and ceiling, quite deteriorated but lovely colors and timeless motifs.  This particular cathedral is famous for it’s organ and attracts some of the worlds most renowned organists for the annual festival.  This town is also famous because it’s the hometown of Nostradamus and right outside of town is the Saint Paul de Mausole hospital where Van Gogh spent time painting some of his most famous works of art.

The incredible gilded mural with the ship and peacock above right is from the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica.  This hilltop cathedral overlooks both the city of Marseilles and the French riviera.  The inside is spectacular.  Do some searches of your own on both of these churches for other images of the details.  My photography is just a stepping stone for you to use to find other images and inspiration from these venues.

Another inspiring subject found all over France that caught my attention was Street art or Graffiti.  It came in all shapes, colors and locations and often it was quite unexpected.  I think it was the juxtaposition of the ancient buildings with these modern images and text that made for such intriguing subject matter.

Where do you find motif’s that inspire your work?  Is it historic or modern interpretations that catch your eye the most?

January 14, 2011

Field Trip Friday::Corcoran

by heatherkp

I recently went to the Corcoran for a lecture and while I was there I spent a bit of time browsing the exhibits.  I was particularly engaged by the work of the Spencer Fitch exhibit My Business with the Clouds.

This exhibit explores sculpture, photography, paintings and drawings that examine the relationships between science, nature and memory. More specifically he is exploring clouds through weather patterns, light and the environment.  I find it playful, exploratory and curiously observational. This exhibit closes on January 23rd so get there to see it yourself while you can.

Another contemporary exhibit currently underway is Washington Color and Light.  This exhibit showcases pieces by students and contemporaries of the Washington Color School.  These works explore abstraction from the 1950’s-70 in the regional DC area.

While your at the Corcoran you may want to take a little time to explore the permanent exhibits which include incredible contemporary, decorative, European and American art as well as photography.  A few of my favorite pieces are below.

I have tremendous respect for the Corcoran.  I attended summer art classes in sculpture there years ago and I’ve attend regular lectures and film screenings there over the years.  In a city with so many free museums it must be difficult to compete but they seem to engage with the Artist community in a way that other area museums do not.  Perhaps this is due to their commitment to arts education.

Do you have any local museums that do a particularly great job by offering engaging work, education and lectures?  If so I do hope you support them regularly.

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