Saturday, August 27, 2011

Artists at Work

Where: Ripley Center

When: through October 2, 2011

This show, on the walls of the concourse on the Ripley's 3rd floor, is a display of works of art by people who work for the Smithsonian. Some are full-time employees, others are interns, still others are volunteers. It's amazing to me how incredibly talented these people, most of whom are not professional artists, are. I don't think an exhibit of artwork by myself and my co-workers would be worthy of display anywhere, let alone at the Smithsonian.

Several pieces that caught my eye:

  • Jooseal Lee's Nostalgia (Paper Clothes) was three dresses, made of paper, hanging on hangers on the wall. There was something creepy about the piece - those dresses in tatters, as if something sinister had happened to them.
  • Laura Erekson's Lake Audubon - Erekson is an intern at the Hirshhorn, nevertheless, I liked her piece, a black and white of a lake with trees. I had to look closely to see where the sky ended and the water began.
  • Doug Dunlop's Alchemical Consciousness - Dunlp is a metadata librarian, which I think means he works in cataloging. I wanted to like this piece, as he's a fellow librarian, but I couldn't quite manage to.
  • Patrick Rizer's Orchids - a lovely piece in copper and bronze, it reminded me of the orchid exhibit I'd seen recently at the Sackler.
  • Huston Dove's Untitled - despite the name, it's an interesting picture of water cascading out of the dam at the Prettyboy reservoir. Dove is a cataloger at the Smithsonian Library.
Verdict: It's a fairly large show, as shows tend to be at the Ripley, so allow plenty of time to look at everything. Well worth a trip, not just for the art, but also to appreciate the many talents of the people who bring us so many worthwhile things at the Smithsonian.

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