Travel

National Gallery of Art & Sculpture Garden

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Let’s take a picturesque stroll through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Shall we?

If you’re of a certain age, you remember typewriters, right? And, what did you use to erase typos back in the dark days? A typewriter eraser that spun on a little wheel insert and it had bristles to wipe away the erasure dust. There it is, pictured above. The world’s largest typewriter eraser. Created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Located near the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art, the sculpture garden runs along Constitution Avenue, in Washington, DC, between 7th and 9th NW. The garden opened to the public in 1999.

With that little introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at several of the sculptures the garden has to offer.

House I
The artist Roy Lichtenstein created House I, or what I call the optical illusion house. Depending on the perspective, the walls seem to move as one passes by the house. It’s really quite fascinating and just plain fun.
Six-Part Seating
Scott Burton, is the artist who created Six-part Seating. The seats are made of polished granite, and I suppose it is open to interpretation. I think a campfire right in the middle of the group would be quite nice. What do you think about this arrangement of seating? Maybe not so comfortable, but I suppose that’s all part of the interpretation.
Thinker on a Rock
Barry Flanagan created this take on Rodin’s Thinker from the 1880’s. It’s known as Thinker on a Rock. It’s always been one of my favorite pieces, but I just refer to it as rabbit on a rock. What do you suppose he’s (or she) is thinking about?
Four-Sided Pyramid
This sculpture is known as the Four-Sided Pyramid, created by Sol LeWitt. It is made of concrete blocks and mortar. Secretly, I’ve always though it might be fun to climb, but that would be a huge, no-no! Apparently, it was conceived as a statement regarding set back laws for skyscrapers in New York City, as well as ancient pyramids of Mesopotamia.
Chair Transformation Number 20B
This sculpture is known as Chair Transformation Number 20B is actually made of bronze, and created by Lucas Samaras. It’s all about perspective with this sculpture. Depending on where one stands, one might see a zig-zag line, a set of stacking chairs, or one single chair in motion.
Aurora
Would it surprise you to know this sculpture is made of eight tons of steel? Do you see the letter “K”? Also, it’s interesting to note that it’s a portrait of the artist’s wife, Kate. I can’t help but wonder how Kate felt about it. Known as Aurora, the sculpture was created by Mark di Suvero.
Pavilion Cafe

Any visit to the sculpture garden should include a meal at the Pavilion Cafe. The cafe offers indoor and outdoor seating with a garden view. It is a lovely year-round spot.

All You Need is Love
AMOR. Created by Robert Indiana.

A visit to the sculpture garden is an exercise in fresh air and creativity. After you’ve taken your stroll through the sculpture garden, and maybe enjoyed a relaxing lunch at the cafe, be sure to find your way to the National Gallery of Art, which is adjacent to the garden.

East & West

The East Building, of the gallery, is home to an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. We tend to spend more time in the West Building, however, because the historical collection is more in line with what speaks to us. Suffice it to say there is something for everyone to appreciate.

The East Building – modern and contemporary art.

A cafeteria, an impressive cascading water feature, and an extensive gift shop, connect the two buildings.

It’s a wonderful museum and the art is inspiring. You’ll easily lose yourself in the tranquility of it all.

If You Go:
  • Sculpture Garden Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily
  • Pavilion Cafe Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily
  • National Gallery of Art Hours: 10:00 – 5:00 p.m. daily
  • Address: Constitution Ave. NW & 7th St.
  • Free admission
  • Restrooms available
  • Security check at the entrance of the Gallery of Art
  • Check rooms & Daily Guided Tours
  • Public WIFI

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