As we sit down to our Thanksgiving meal, I’m still reflecting on Veterans Day and how thankful we are for all their courage and sacrifice, fighting to continuously preserve and protect our freedom and enabling us to celebrate family holidays such as this uniquely American one.
Peter and I visited the relatively new Disabled Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day. It’s official name is the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which accurately describes what the memorial is about but it’s a bit of a mouthful to say.
We found it stately, streamlined and moving.
Disabled Veterans Memorial a tribute to visit on Veterans Day
Out of the image view above is the star at the end of the infinity pool with an endless flame coming out of the water. Unfortunately, it was surprisingly extinguished on this visit.
Silhouettes are also embedded in the semi-transparent glass
Along with silhouettes embedded in the semi-transparent glass panels, are very touching quotes by military vets, like Bob Dole and others, who describe the ongoing battle to live with disabilities long after wars are fought.
This reality of war’s scars describe both physical as well as mental trauma, as every day struggles among our Vets.
It was a beautiful day to visit just at dusk and before the Concert of Valor, which we viewed later on TV in the comfort of our home.
We’ll be having Thanksgiving this year in New Orleans with our extended family, including Piers and his wife, Libby, who we welcome as a new addition to our family.
While out touring this past Veterans Day, we wandered upon an abandoned warehouse while we were walking in the Navy Yard / Capitol Waterfront area.
We were walking to Blue Jacket Brewery, just one of the relatively new restaurant/ pub-like places operated by the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, where we have found a bounty of favorite eateries, including Vermillion, right down the street from us in Old Town, and where we had thought about having our son’s rehearsal dinner. You can view all their establishments via the bottom of their main page link, which is oddly still under construction.
We had walked in this area once before, coming from the other direction, and Blue Jacket was packed. We never noticed this warehouse but here is was and calling us to come inside. The only reason we walked over was because the warehouse door was half open, as if someone forgot to shut it. That got our curiosity.
This half opened warehouse was calling us to look inside
Once inside this abandoned warehouse, we something quite remarkable, a surprising sculpture suspended from the rafters as an art exhibit. This magical light from the clearstory windows appeared to illuminate it.
We didn’t know what to make of it at first.
It looked like a dinosaur spine or something out of Alien but at the same time it was quite beautiful and reminded me of a harp.
It had a huge expanse and filled the entire diagonal span of the space.
Upon closer look we discovered it was made of golden arms.
Come to find out, it was a golden arm and we discovered it was meant to be viewed as an art exhibit. The half-way opened door was probably a ploy to get one to explore, which worked. This is the exhibition sign we noticed right outside — after viewing the exhibit. What a fascinating way to use abandoned buildings, I thought.
You can learn more about the 5×5 Project here and view their well done video below. I’m going to keep my eye out for the other 24 artists’ sites.
There were abandoned lamp posts on the other side of the warehouse. We’re not sure if this had anything to do with the exhibit.
After this discovery we treated ourselves to beers at Blue Jacket.
Sorry to say I wasn’t impressed with any of the beers as they were way too hoppy and IPA-ish for me. All beers that I try to avoid but Peter loves.
I viewed other surprises from our table: sun-washed smoke stacks that made an industrial location look beautiful and the ingenuity of the angled rooftop terraces of the condo units newly built in the area. This design gave everyone privacy plus a view and an architectural design-statement for others to see from below.
But the reward for trying Blue Jacket came in the form of fried chickpeas. Wonderful little crispy bites with a gooey center and simply flavored with lemon zest and pepper.
Who knew!! I’m going to try this for one of our family appetizers during Thanksgiving.
It was getting dark but we went on to continue our walk to the water. We were spellbound with more newly discovered, artistic spaces. The Capitol Waterfront & Yards Park area is a new-found treasure spot from which Alexandria could take a lot of lessons as they plan their waterfront renovation. I would only hope ours could be this good.
I’ve seen pictures of weddings on this bridge. Now I know where it is!
Even the design of the benches are well-conceived, functional art-pieces. What a Zen-like, welcomed resting spot this is. We truly enjoyed soaking it all in.
What a fabulous, serendipitous day of art discovery!
Art truly is everywhere and where you lease expect it sometimes.
It’s always this time of year that I remember the passing of my good friend’s husband due to a brain tumor. The anniversary of his death occurs on my mother’s birthday — a strange dichotomy of sadness and celebration. When I saw Tom Jacobs’ story in the Pacific Standard recently about researchers finding possible ways to reduce or increase creative thought due to restrictions on the brain caused by a hematoma, it caught my attention, while the human brain was on my mind.
He writes that an Israeli research team studied a 46 year old accountant who suddenly began to draw in notebooks and felt the compulsion to create a painting a day while at the hospital after suffering a stroke. He had no previous artistic training. As his hemorrhage diminished from the stroke, so did his preoccupation for creating artwork. His impaired language returned and over the course of three years after the blood clot subsided, he was no longer able to draw. The researchers concluded that higher levels of creativity seem to occur in damaged areas of the brain, particularly in the left temporoparital frontal areas where this patient’s hematoma occurred. Although the study is not definitive, it is interesting to note the assertions as Tom Jacobs writes, “Nevertheless, if the Israeli researchers are right, it leads to fascinating speculation over whether we might somehow find a way to restrain, or re-train, that part of the brain that is prematurely dismissing our creative ideas. Preferably without suffering a stroke.”
Click here to read more details about this fascinating story.
Coincidentally, I saw this other Blood story about Britain’s commemoration of WWI with over 888,246 ceramic poppies on display and “spilling” out of London’s Tower. They represent the blood of each Commonwealth soldier’s life well fought and lost in WWI. The installation, Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red, is now being dismantled but click the link to learn more — especially how Paul Cummins a ceramicist pitched the idea and with the help of set designer, Tom Piper, & The Tower of London and many volunteers, the exhibit was created. It has become so popular, you can no longer buy a poppy as a piece of artistic history.
Another important commemoration in recent news is the 25th year of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Something that is hard to forget when I saw it happen. Amazing to know that DC has its own piece of the wall on display.
I’m not sure if this last one still exists in Freedom Plaza, as the Virtual Tourist source was quite some time ago.
I’ve had friends and my mother, who’s a city-convenience person, travel to Africa and always say it was the most remarkable place they’ve ever visited.
With all the bad and scary news about the Ebola virus coming out of Africa and DC already being threatened with a first but misrepresented case, I thought it would be nice to post a beautiful photo seeing another side to Africa.
Namibia landscape. Photo by Ken Geiger via The Washington Post
This very surreal landscape of puffy clouds and zebras by Ken Geiger in Etosha National Park in Namibia is as the caption in the post reads,
I came across several news stories recently that indicate that there is pushing the boundaries of public art in various cities. I thought I’d piece a few together and let you decide because it is ultimately up to the viewer to determine if they like or dislike the artwork they are viewing.
The controversy exists when the artist pushes their artwork on the people. If the artwork was a private commission or for private viewing, in a museum or a gallery where pieces can be purchased, it would be different because the artist is more free to push the boundaries with their personal expression.
Public murals have always been controversial. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like a lot of generic graffiti art, but I appreciate where talent is noticeable.
If you’re creating public art that ‘lives’ in others’ spaces then I think you have to be respectful of the community since its very definition is based on a shared living space. Definition: is a “unified body of individuals.”
: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)
: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.
These two public art murals are causing an uproar in Atlanta. I posted about one of them already. There was a documentary on PBS that features the controversy and “the balance between art and community.” Here’s the trailer. The film can be watched this week.
This debate is not isolated to Atlanta. Other cities have seen their fair share with Bansky and Shepard Fairey and other street artists.
I’m not sure how Brusk, a French street artist, deals with where and when he paints or with permission but I like his work.
Brusk images via Cuded
His illustration style and art education at the Ecole des Beaux – Arts de Saint Etienne clearly displays his talent. Sometimes his subjects are a little jarring but his style is pretty mesmerizing with its interplay between 3D painting and sometimes sculpture.
Perhaps interactive art, where the community is abiding and has been consulted in the dialogue before and / or even after, is a better approach.
Getting the community involved for a worthwhile project becomes a beneficial reason for public murals, such as this “Home Safe” mural that comprise 2 walls and is sponsored by the well-known Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. It is painted in West Philadelphia to pictorially show potentially circuitous paths homeless youth take n the city just to get home — to a safe place. The mural painted by the “Journey to Home” team gives the homeless teens who painted it a path for work, expression and community pride.
Like other typical graffiti murals it uses many spray painted words but the composition, color and overall execution is cohesive, just like the painters and the neighborhood on board with this public mural.
“…designing and building the “flexible and modular” system [in Baton Rouge, LA, the "red stick"]. The rotating exhibit is intended to serve as shifting, interactive space that will showcase a visual display of the unique identity of a city and its residents…“It’s the idea of taking a mural and pushing the boundaries, not being permanent,” Doran, [Professional in Residence, at the LSU school of Architecture], said. “A mural is just sort of a static image and we want to make it become more interactive and engaging and something for the community to enjoy.”
They are taking the right approach where all parties collaborate, as quoted here:
” LSU students, enrolled in the 2014 Mid City studio class, are creating the architectural mural with the help of several businesses in Baton Rouge as well as The Walls Project. Friday’s (10.10) soiree will be focusing on receiving input from the community on the project as well as raising support for the project.”
moving murals via Nola Defender
It will be interesting to see how this comes out. Maybe it can ‘move’ to Nola next where I can actually see it when I’m back ‘home.’
When it comes to interactive murals, I can’t think of a better one that gets you moving, as the Berkley Beacon describes, with a Red Rock Wall and inspirational quotes by “Marshall McLuhan, [a Canadian philosopher], as “a way to share relevant literature without being annoying.”
Julia Cseko Rock Wall mural via Berkley Beacon
The mural is called, “A Coney Island of the Mind—Marshall McLuhan, and painted by Julia Cseko on Berkley’s student campus. There are 2 other murals to be painted as part of the project:
Blazejack said she was paid $3,000 to paint the mural on the fifth floor of Paramount, Rock Wall for Sedimentary Drawing, and said the rock featured in the painting was a metaphor.
“These layers of sedimentary rock, compressed over millions of years, were made with layers of paint set down quickly,” Blazejack explained. “It represents the history of the school, and all these students moving through and graduating.”
Blazejack purposefully left square blank spaces throughout the mural for students to leave their own legacies.
Note: Sorry, for some reason, this post missed it’s schedule from last week.
I’m not sure I can make it to this one, but maybe when I’m in the Shenandoah while wine tasting next weekend if nearby. There are some wonderful pieces like this one by Discovery by New Jersey artist Robert Beck.
The museum website link has the full artist roster and descriptions. Well worth the download.
Sad to say, West Hollywood’s famous Palm Restaurant is closing and with it goes its murals of hundreds of celebrities.
This is a classic tourist stop, if you ever go to Hollywood. I’ve never been but I’m interested in seeing these murals.
Celebrity caricatures cover the walls and ceilings. See how many you recognize?
Fortunately they exist on the Los Angeles Eater blog — at least for a while, so get your visual feast while you can.
Palm Restaurant celebrity murals via Eater
Speaking of celebrities, I am not an avid daily TV watcher but I confess I indulge in the Kelly & Michael show while I check my morning email. I’m not a football fan either, except for the New Orleans Saints, even though I live in Redskins territory. So it was no surprise that I wasn’t paying too much attention when Terry Crews appeared as one of the guests last week. Actually, I didn’t know who Terry Crews was, even though, upon seeing him, I recognized that I had seen him in various movies as well as old Old Spice commercials. I looked up his profile on Wikipedia and was surprised to learn his football career started with the Rams as a defensive end/ linebacker, and then the San Diego Chargers, moving to the Washington Redskins and ending with the Philadelphia Eagles. No surprise though that these guys get moved around a lot. Tough world to be in football and then to age. He retired in 1997 and started his acting career. He was on this morning show to promote his role as the new host for Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Coincidentally, Regis, Kelly’s former co-host and founder of her show, also hosted this game show.
Terry Crews – Early Days via SiKids.com
What I was really surprised to learn and the whole reason I’m mentioning this, is that Terry Crews was a fine arts major. This is how he got his start and always fell back on drawing and art when things were tough. For instance, when he was cut from a team, he used to draw his fellow football members’ mugs in the locker room and sell them the more refined, painted-portraits when he was out of work for a while for about $5,000 a painting. Very smart! Here is some of his artwork and some real talent too!
It took him about 2 months do complete a painting of this realistic caliber.
This is just another example of finding Art is Everywhere and sometimes in the least expected places.
Doing a little more research, I discovered that Terry Crews’ art background was revealed on the Jimmy Kimmel show earlier in the month. Here’s the clip that also shows his exuberant personality. What a fascinating career and how he came up the ranks through art as Flint Michigan’s sketch artist. Gosh, he was doing this work when I was graduating from college! Quite an ‘animated’ and likeable character!
Regarding Images used: I do not claim ownership of any of the images posted on this blog (unless stated otherwise). I try my utmost best to give credit from original sources. If you have ownership rights of a photo and wish for me to remove it, please don’t hesitate to contact me.