This year, summer arrived on a Monday (June 20th) and while I sat in my cubicle, I got to thinking about the months ahead. Here are some of my favorite summertime shots.
ABOVE: Dave Hinds, Pollinizers, sculpture
BELOW: Steven Siegal, Land, sculpture
If you’re in the Toronto area and have a car, or know someone who does, you should jump in it and head down to the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington, Ontario. I went for the first time last weekend, and I was impressed.
The first thing to note is that this place is not only huge, but spread out over several locations. Fortunately, there is a shuttle bus that runs frequently, and even better, it’s included with your admission ($16). Each garden is unique, and depending upon the season, offers something new.
If art is your thing (it is mine) you can see some at the International Sculpture Garden in Hendrie Park. It’s a small collection, and the artists within it are relatively unknown, but the work is fairly good, and new sculptures appear to be added regularly.
If you’re looking for a day out away from the city, and you love to walk among nature, then this place is for you.
While I recognize the importance of conceptual art to the modern art canon, more often than not, it’s total bullshit. One conceptual artist I do admire is John Baldessari – he manages to push the boundaries of art without being annoyingly pretentious about it.
I recently saw a great little video about him on YouTube, and in it, he comes across as a pretty decent guy (not pretentious at all). I had planned to embed it, but after reading a bit about copyright, I’ve decided instead to provide a link. It’s only 6 minutes long and it’s super fun.
Here’s the link.
ABOVE: Lawren Harris, Lake and Mountains, 1928, oil on canvas, 51.5 x 63.25 inches
BELOW: Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 2012, installation, 25 x 15 feet
For those looking to see art by notable artists:
Art Gallery of Ontario July 1 – September 18
Co-organized with the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and co-curated by Steve Martin, The Idea of North brings to the AGO over 30 paintings by one of Canada’s most beloved artists.
The Royal Ontario Museum June 25 – January 2, 2017
In a few weeks, acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly will be bringing some of his fragile installations to the ROM. Critics be damned, this show promises to be a crowd pleaser.
For those looking to buy art at reasonable prices – from artists who need the support:
I think that one’s art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.
Be careful that you do not write or paint anything that is not your own, that you don’t know in your own soul.
The men resent a woman getting any honour in what they consider is essentially their field. Men painters mostly despise women painters. So I have decided to stop squirming, to throw any honour in with Canada and women.
Beauty is a living abiding presence completely untouchable by all the devices of man, such as moral codes, creeds, intellectual analysis, games and cliches, the acquisitive instinct, or lust for anything whatsoever.
Art must take to the road and risk all for the glory of adventure.
Every work of art which really moves us is in some degree a revelation – it changes us.
Among the Indians, as among other nations, some people are born artists, but most are not. I am a born artist. I have as much interest in my people as any anthropologist, and I have studied our culture and lore. My aim is to reassemble the pieces of a once proud culture, and to show the dignity and bravery of my people.
My goal is to break the barrier between the white world and mine. I wish only one thing, to be an artist and to be respected as one – and my paintings to be seen by all people.
My heart and soul is reflected into my mind and my mind is reflected into my hands.
ABOVE: Pierre-Auguste Renior, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1880-81, oil on canvas, 51 x 68 inches (as seen at the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C.)
BELOW: Beverly Pepper, Ex Cathedra, 1967, sculpture, 101.5 x 90 x 83 inches (as seen at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.)
Whatever your taste, there is a ton of art and culture on display in Washington D.C. Here are my thoughts on the galleries I visited.
A stellar museum all round, but where it really shines is in the contemporary art department – arguably the best D.C. has to offer in that regard.
Looks like a small gallery from the ground level, but, as looks are often deceiving, contains several floors underground. Houses a wide variety of Asian art and artifacts.
The city’s best designed art museum – all galleries should be this simple to navigate. It’s permanent collection of international contemporary art is excellent, as is it’s sculpture garden.
By far, the best gallery in D.C. Not much in the way of contemporary art, but incredible everywhere else. It’s sculpture garden, which does include contemporary work, is awesome too.
Like the Sackler, most exhibitions are housed underground. And, like the Sackler, it’s definitely worth a visit. Takes about an hour.
Open since 1897, the NMWA is the only museum in America dedicated exclusively to female artists. It hosts traveling exhibitions in addition to it’s permanent collection, which includes work by Cassatt and Kahlo.
Sharing a beautiful atrium with the American Art Museum, this gallery is full of famous faces. The official presidential portraits are themselves worth the trip.
America’s first modern art museum packs a lot of star power into a small space. Some of the best art in the city.
A small gallery across from the White House. Not sure about it’s permanent collection, but the temporary exhibition we saw was wonderful.
From Capitol Hill and the National Mall, to the many museums and galleries in between, Washington D.C. has a ton to offer. Over the course of one week, I ran myself ragged, nearly killed my girlfriend in the process, and lost 5 pounds. But, to my credit, I saw almost everything. Here’s a brief post on that.
Like many, our first stop was the White House. Inside or out, the world’s most famous residence is a must see, but if you’re unable to see it inside (we weren’t), then you’ll definitely want to check out it’s visitor center. It’s a small museum, but it gives you a lot of interesting info on the place.
Next up, was the National Mall. It takes a couple hours to see everything, but it contains some of Washington’s most powerful symbols, among them the Washington, Lincoln and Vietnam War Memorial’s. If possible, visit once during the day, then again at night. The photo opportunities are endless.
Owing to a sketchy weather report, we decided to do all the outdoor stuff early in the week, so we hopped on the subway, and went on a tour of Arlington Cemetery with DC By Foot. It was incredible. I really cannot say enough about how impressed we were with both the cemetery, and our tour guide. From there, we walked to the The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, then hopped back on the subway and visited the The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. Needless to say, our second day in Washington D.C. was a powerful and memorable one.
Day three was spent touring the National Archives, Capitol Hill, and the Library of Congress. The archive building, which house the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and Declaration of Independence is a quick but necessary see. Capitol Hill, while under construction, is still worth the free tour, and the Library of Congress is absolutely spectacular. We had no idea it was so beautiful inside.
Having spent the first few days exploring mostly outdoors, we decided to tackle the many museums and galleries D.C. has to offer, and over the next few days, saw 16 of them. To keep things short, I’ll write a review of all the art galleries at a later date, and focus instead on the other institutions we visited. The Smithsonian Museums of American History, Natural History and Air and Space are the top three, but all the others are great too. Of the non-Smithsonians, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was by far the most impactful. Emotionally draining, but impactful.
With our week coming to a close, we squeezed in a tour of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where they produce billions of dollars a year, then spent our last afternoon taking a self-guided tour of Georgetown, which, if you can swing it, I highly suggest.
A few final thoughts: Washington D.C. is a safe, clean, and friendly little city with enough history and culture to rival the oldest, and largest cities in the world. It is truly a bucket list destination.