What with getting children ready and getting dressed and so on, Liisa got Elaine and me to the Shady Grove station at about ten in the morning. Too late for us to make the 10:30 tour in Washington, but I don't think we missed that much. We got off at the Smithsonian station and went to the Hirshhorn museum, got there at about 10:45 or so. Lots of children in the area! Schools apparently send classes to these museums regularly. The museum has a sculpture garden, which we enjoyed, particularly, I think, a piece called "Last Conversation Piece" - I should look it up, get the right name and the artist's name. It looks like bean ball men cavorting together. Sort of a precursor to Blue Man Group, I said to Elaine, thinking mainly of the sameness of the creatures.
All of these pictures are online at a place called shutterfly.com, and I will post that if I think of it, and if I haven't already (I don't remember), but I want to regroup the pix and create a regular photo album or two on my web site instead, eventually.
The museum had an exhibit that we both were sucked into. I don't remember the artist's name! again! He used a lot of photography, both still and moving, to create multiple images, stacked images, different ways of seeing things. There was one that was a large-screen film of a woman driving a car. One sees straight into the car, the woman's head above the steering wheel, her hands on the wheel, the images in the rear window. The film jerks through the changes in the rear window scene as the wheel is turned. This piece reminded me of visions I have often had. Where I see the minute changes that take place in one place, a relativity vision. I could identify with this one, could see, I thought, what the artist had in mind. Other pieces took more puzzling. Elaine felt that, because the first piece had to do with death that all of it essentially was about death, and maybe she is right. It would be interesting to go see it again and think about it and hear what others think about it.
There is a nice Calder room there. I have always liked those sculptures that move. I think about these pieces, though, not as pieces in a museum but as expressions that one might see in a home, for example. I think about having a mobile in my home, how I would act with it, how it would affect me. I would want to have a painting in a room if it said things to me, different things at different times. Or if it always said "I am happy!" or "Watch out!" or something clear like that.
This makes me think, briefly, about a public radio show I was listening to yesterday afternoon as I wound through Las Vegas trying to get out. Las Vegas wanted to keep me, I know, because it took an hour for me to find the right way out. During part of that time I was listening to a show about food. The host was interviewing the writer of a book on wine, a book meant to demystify wine. He said that when he went to wine events in the past he felt intimidated, afraid he would say the wrong thing. Similarly, I may say "the wrong thing" about this museum, this art, and I do understand that one gets more if one knows more, pays more attention. Yet at the same time I am who I am, I bring my own self to what I see. I don't apologize, thus, for what I see.
We made it through most of the museum when I realized we were pressing on time to get to the bike tour, which was to start at one.
It was raining. We didn't know if the bike tour would be on, and I had neglected to bring the information sheet with me, so I did not know where we were supposed to meet. we decided to find food, sit down and call the bike place.
We wound up in the Smithsonian "castle", the main building, having a sandwich. I called the bike place and talked to Steve. He said that because it was raining we could change the day, go ahead with the tour, or get a refund.
I was so exhausted, or more, really, so stiff, that I toyed with the idea of putting the tour off to the following morning. He was willing to accommodate us on a monument tour in the morning (usually they do museums in the morning) if that was what we wanted. But Elaine reminded us of how long it had taken us to get into town that day and figured we would not get there in time. So we said we'd go for it then, that afternoon. We got the directions on how to get to the bikes and we headed out the door.
Honestly, every step I took was painful. I hated that I was that way and at times I could float above it, let my legs walk and let the rest of me detach. I did wonder how I would do on the bike, but I knew I would be using different muscles and that bike riding tends to be less painful for me than walking.