Cities are layered. One has to peel each layer one by one, reveal each experience one at a time. Experiencing a new city for the first time is no easy task. Going through touristic attractions first; going through tourists first... I perceived.
Although this was my second time in D.C. when thinking of number of museums visited; might as well be regarded as the first. No complaints here, thanks to great recommendations from a fellow instagrammer, @golightly, great pictures were scored! Onto important notes...
Every capital is burdened by impressive structures. The glory of it's architecture is the very representation of the glory of the nation. When said impressive, it is not the scale in question but also detailing. Shoefies be damned; 80% of the time I wished I had a latte to put on the floor for instagrams sake. Photography is deemed as artwork, who cares if its only on social media. The set back is, the most glorious structures are the most visited; the most photographed; the most talked about. Yet, that is the very first layer of the city to strip. Challenge accepted.
Besides the White House, and all the memorials -conveniently named after various presidents-, the museums as public spaces are as breath taking. This is how much I managed to cramp into two days:
Library of Congress - Jefferson Building
If getting your presidents in order is a must, just head to D.C. Almost all structures worth seeing are named after one. Designed and built in late 1800's this building is an American Beaux-Arts masterpiece. Located diagonally behind the Capitol, both buildings are connected via 'book apparatus' tunnel. I can't believe this secret tunnel has yet to make it's way to the script of any movie, series where D.C. is under attack. Once entered, monumental staircases on either end take you to the balcony level. Surrounded by doubled Corinthian columns and archways; the balcony wraps around the atrium where one can gaze in to tourists coming in. This space is also the main circulation space between the side galleries and the grand room below the dome. An accentuated hallway, if you will. There is no way to justifiably describe the vibrant reds, blues, greens, and yellows; nor there is enough patience in any millennial to read about the dialog between the pilasters and the ornaments. In the name of keeping it short, lets say this building is magnificent and a must see.
National Gallery of Art - East Wing
After tangentially crossing the Capitol Building, it's a brief walk to National Gallery of Art. Beware, there are two of them: East and West. East building is the contemporary one. A change of scenery from decorative over stimulation. With crisscrossing balconies and works of Alexander Calder hanging from skylights; there is a striking difference in how these two buildings feel. Honestly, the only reason I visited this building was because of the giant blue rooster located in the terrace. -its art, OK!- While in search of the rooster; Lichtenstein, Pollock, and Matisse were among many who were easy on the eyes as well. Since the Rooster is on the very top level, it was worthwhile to get lost in contemporary art in transit. On another note, East and West wings of the National Gallery of Art is connected through a mesmerizing LED concourse that happens to be an artwork by Leo Villareal. If you are going 'Is this for real?', well; so was I.
National Portrait Gallery
To be honest, the name of this museum startled me from the get go. If you think about it, good chunk of art is portraits dating back to antiquity. Any museum -excluding modern and contemporary art- dedicated to paintings should be regarded as portrait museums. Leaving my two cents behind, the reason behind my visit was not art but architecture at first. Getting lost in the art came later. The courtyard of the building is enclosed by a massive double curved ribbed enclosure. Even on a cloudy day, play of light and shade was mesmerizing. Increased contrast; check.
Moving into the galleries,. Green may be Pantone's color of the year; however, I did not think I would love seeing so much of Nile green on the walls. Complimented by brown and beige tile work, the space had a very Venetian feel.
Two words: Yayoi Kusama - accompanied by a really long line, circling around a circular museum- After scoring black market, a.k.a. Craigslist, tickets for the exhibition, heading to Hirshhorn at 9 am on a Saturday was not a challenge at all. -for some of us, my brother was not as happy- Visitors are admitted in fifteen minute intervals. From 9 am to 10 am is reserved for the members. My ticket said 9.15 -score-. This is highly important because if you think the only line in this exhibition is the one in front of the main gate, think again. In front of every infinity room exhibition, one can expect to stay in line for up to 45 minutes. And after that 45 minutes, you get a well deserve 30 seconds in the room to be mesmerized, while taking as many selfies as possible. One of them is bound to be good. If you plan on going to D.C. anytime soon definitely do so before the exhibition moves to its following destination. Every single queue is worth it.
A cooler 5pointz. Street art heaven. Fun, fun, fun. Located a bit outside of the city center, Blind Whino is millennial mannerism. A church, established in late 1800's with Victorian and Romanesque features has gone through a major face-lift through street art. Love it. The space is designed and redesigned to be a cultural hub. Apparently, interior of the church can be fitted to hold events. How cool is that?
While there are quite a few stars I couldn't check off from my google maps, overall D.C. has hosted me quite well. While there will definitely be a next time; knowlita coined the term - New York or nowhere. New York it is.