06 March 2007

Art in DC:

Johns at NGA: I walked through the Johns at a quick clip, to go stare at the faces of Family of Saltimbanques. Clement Greenberg wrote in the early 60s that Pop Art existed for collectors that couldn’t afford a Pollack and didn’t want a Norman Bluhm, and everything Johns has done from the beginning to the end was repeated ad nauseum throwing conceptual softballs to his buyers. I do like Rauschenberg because he used Pop techniques to find other possibilities.

Rembrandt at NGA: Crowded, I went for the loose drawings from the 1640s. Paris photos: tame Brassaïs, good Atgets, one good Nadar (who I noted once seemed to have decided that the camera was invented for Sarah Bernhardt, the Eiffel Tower and hermaphrodites), one great Dora Maar. Manet’s The Old Musician is a no-show these days, but at least The Tragic Actor (Rouvière as Hamlet) (pictured) isn't upstaged this way. Corcoran: Wall of Courbet - Pissarro - Monet, etc., free til mid-March.

African Museum - Body of Evidence: Worth seeing if you’re in town for William Kentridge’s Ubu etchings (pictured, Ubu Tells the Truth), Sue Williamson’s interactive reflection on Truth and Reconciliation, Ouattara Watts’ Basquiat-influenced Ka Cabala Voodoo. Small, but ritual masks await you in the next room.

Food in DC:

I happened on a Trinidadian take-out joint in Baltimore, the first in the US I’ve ever seen, and on the way back found another one in DC, in Takoma on the corner of New Hampshire and University (Carribean Palace, next to the Starbucks in the huge strip mall). A roti with everything (lentils, spinach, and spuds) puts you down $5, a potato pie $2.20. There’s delicious and then there’s food that makes you think you made a pact with Satan, this is on the high end of the latter. After that there was a nasty accident further North on NH, so I had to turn around and this led me to a Guyanese place and a wonderful Ghanaese market on Riggs just North of University. I was saving the roti for later so I had room for a Guyanese meat pie and their creamy calaloo :)

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