I think most visitors and locals in DC overlook the National Museum of African Art. I used to be one of them. With my husband, we accidentally one day passed from the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art to the African Museum. These two museums are connected through the ground floor.
We weren’t expecting much, but decided to continue to walk. We suddenly arrive to a gallery that had black and white photographs. I had to make a stop to investigate the exhibition. The photography and video work was of Roger Ballen. Neither one of us knew about him. I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about his work before. Ballen mixes drawings and photography to create surreal work. The drawings are made of line and textures. These are sometimes shown as a single flat photograph. I think the drawings work best when they are used as backgrounds, almost as theatrical stages, for the objects and people on the foreground. The work feels very, very dark and mysterious. I almost read them as nightmares or the darkness in humans. At the same time, some of the photographs felt dark and strangely a bit calm.
Currently they have an exhibition with the Cosby’s private art collection. I know Cosby from the TV show and also the unfortunate allegations about him (be true or not). In any case, him and his wife have an excellent art collection, and I am very pleased we had an opportunity to take a peek at it. I again, left with new favorite artists to add to my list, such as Varnette Honeywood and Nontsikelelo Veleko.
I need to pay another visit to this museum because “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists” exhibition up until the end of the summer looks like one that shouldn’t be missed. Check it out here.
Watching “The Shining” after taking my first photography class made the movie so much richer for me. I loved the way the frame was used throughout the movie to make us visually feel each scene. It truly became one of my favorite movies. Many years later, I also remember telling a student who was struggling with composition to watch “The Shining”. I thought it was a perfect suggestion for a film student. However, his responds was – The Shining is not even a great movie. It broke my heart (a little), but I was super excited to see that the IKEA team decided on a Shining-like commercial, and I think it turned out almost as awesome as the movie. Happy Halloween! (late).
The poster of the Mona Lisa painting by Botero is hanged on the entrance of my apartment. It was a gift from a cousin, who had very kindly taken me to the Modern Museum of Art in Bogota, Colombia to look at a photography exhibition. It took me two years to mount the poster on board and three more years to finally make the instagram project.
My original idea was to quote Duchamp by drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa and hang it on my wall. All of these years, I kept contemplating about the type of mustache I wanted on this version of the Mona Lisa. For whatever reason, I didn’t want to draw the same mustache Duchamp drew. I remember thinking that Ohr’s crazy over the top mustache was perfect, after we looked at his work in a history of modern design class.
The mustache has been a trend for years now. I can’t remember when it came into mainstream. When did we suddenly start putting a mustache on everything? When did it also become funny for people to sport a fake mustache at parties? A quick google search tells me that men started to wear a mustache in the Victorian time as distasteful and it a trend that comes and goes. The mustache now is used more as a funny symbol we put on everything. Who doesn’t like a coffee mug with a mustache on it? There are, of course, guys who grow all sources of mustaches and there are clubs and there are events. I’m not sure if this is a new phenomena or if the mustache came back with vengeance in the 21st century.
My intentions are really different than Duchamp’s commentary on art back in 1919. But in a way, I have to thank Duchamp and many artists before me that believe art is not static, but always evolving with time. My project doesn’t have this direct goal or trying to change anything. My project is an escape from my every day job. I wanted to do a piece with humor. Ever since the day I saw Boteros’ Mona Lisa, I thought that all it was missing was a mustache to complete the piece (I’m sure Botero does not agree with me). Finally I had the idea to use instagram to play with different mustaches and just see how people reacted.
The actual poster continues to be free of a mustache. Maybe it will take me a couple of years until I can decide on one looks. I’ll keep everyone posted.
I recently took a free class with KCDC. It was the “Making Places: A Bike Tour of Typography and Vintage Signs in D.C.” taught by David Ramos. I enjoyed going to places in D.C. that I have never seen before, while looking at often overlooked signage.
I even heard another classmate say something a long this lines “DC is small. I actually thought I’ve seen most of it”. This is not an official quote because I’m not good with remembering word by word. But I couldn’t agree with his overall statement.
Also, the ladies at Typecase Industries were awesome and very inspirational. They made me have flashbacks of being in the printmaking studio back at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I hope Dave teaches the class again!