Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gift of the Artist: Photographers as Donors

Where: National Museum of American History

When: through February 29, 2012

This is the latest of the Archives Center's exhibits and occupies their two display cases.  I've waxed rhapsodic about this little alcove of quiet enough in earlier posts, so I'll forgo that this time.

The photographs in this display are recent gifts to the archives from the photographers themselves.  One of the donors is Jonathan Singer, a podiatrist turned photographer.  He used to photograph orchids and received national attention for his work.  Now, he has turned his efforts to guitars, and one of his guitar photos is on display.

Fernando Sandoval is another donor, a DC photographer.  The photos he donated are of downtown DC in the 1980s and early 1990s.  I find the history of this area, where my office is located, fascinating.  In his pictures, it looks seedy and rundown, not a part of town in which one would wish to spend any time.  This is absolutely accurate - downtown was a place you hurried through to get to somewhere nicer.  Now, of course, that part of town is lovely.  I feel comfortable walking there anytime, even in the evenings - lots of activity (legal activity, I should stipulate), restaurants, shops, etc.  How times have changed!

Verdict: I saw this exhibit with the Toys display - an easy way to spend a short period of time.  You could combine this with another show in the museum - sadly, Julia Child's kitchen is closed for renovation, but there's lots else to see.

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