Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Bright Beneath: The Luminous Art of Shih Chieh Huang

Where: National Museum of Natural History

When: through January 8, 2012

Huang was a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow (I didn't even know such a program existed) who was inspired by the bioluminescense of deep sea creatures to create his art.  In the deep sea, light cannot penetrate, so creatures that live there must produce their own light.  Basically, they're glow in the dark creatures.

Huang's art is in a darkened room just off the Ocean Hall, and his "creatures" glow there in brilliant bright colors.  It's great fun to watch them moving and lighting up, assisted by bulbs and fans.  I was reminded of Andy Warhol's description of his Shadows as disco decor - this would have been a fine addition to the 1970s dance venues.  There are small objects floating around, as well as the large ones, so if you go, pay close attention to everything.

Verdict: This show is closing on Sunday (much to the staff's chagrin - apparently it works wonders as a tantrum soother), so it would have to be a weekend trip.  Great fun if you have the time!

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