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Stacey N. Parker Women’s Studies 300 Due: Oct. 30, 2006 Museum Visit Writing Assignment On Sunday, October 22, 2006 my friend, Ryan and I went to visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts located in Washington, D.C. Before I went I looked at the museum online in order to get a feel for what I would be visiting. I thought the museum would be large and much like the National Gallery of Arts however when we arrived it was definitely different than I had imagined. The museum was smaller yet mor
  Stacey N. Parker Women’s Studies 300Due: Oct. 30, 2006Museum Visit Writing AssignmentOn Sunday, October 22, 2006 my friend, Ryan and I went to visit the NationalMuseum of Women in the Arts located in Washington, D.C. Before I went I looked at themuseum online in order to get a feel for what I would be visiting. I thought the museumwould be large and much like the National Gallery of Arts however when we arrived itwas definitely different than I had imagined. The museum was smaller yet more elegantthan the National Gallery of Art. The day that I went 3 of the 5 floors (not including thePerformance Hall) were closed off due to a wedding being held there and the creation of a new exhibition called The Books As Art: Twenty Years of Artists’ Books at the National Museum of Women in the Arts , which opens on October 27, 2006. When we first walkedin the entrance you saw brochures with Frida Khalo’s self portrait on the cover and therewas a wall with the founding members’ names engraved. It felt sophisticated andcomfortable. I loved the marble stairways and how open the museum was. From theground floor I could see paintings on the next floor up. Next to the front desk where you bought your tickets to enter there was a large painting of Wilhelmina Cole Holladay. Shewas the founder of the museum. Her mission was to have a place for women to berepresented since there was such an under representation of women in the art world. November 1981 it was incorporated as a private, non-profit museum and in the spring of 1986 it opened as a permanent museum for the public. The building won numerousarchitectural awards for its design, museum, and security standards.  As far as the artwork goes, I imagined there to be rooms and floors filled with art.I thought there would be a lot of contemporary artwork but there was a very limitedselection. Based on the Frida Kahlo brochure cover I expected an entire section of her work but there were only 2-3 paintings. On the particular day that went to the museumthere were only about 10 other people looking through the museum and the rest of the people were staff members or people who were setting up the wedding. Most of thevisitors were on the 3 rd floor where the contemporary art was located. The art was dividedup by time period. The main floor’s selection was from 18 th -20 th century American paintings. The mezzanine’s selection was from 16 th -19 th century European paintings. The2 nd floor was closed due to the installation of the book exhibition. There was also a cafélocated on this floor. The 3 rd floor contained the contemporary and modern art work fromtwo collections. One was from the collection called Contemporary Figurative Prints andthe other was from the collection called Portraits of Women by Women. The 4 th floor hada selection called Women and Books but I was unable to look at it since the floor wasclosed off at that time. The 5 th floor which had a Performance Hall was also closed thatafternoon. My favorite floor was the 3 rd floor with contemporary and modern art work. Icould relate more to the art on this floor even though I preferred the painting styles of the16 th -20 th century art by American and European women. When you first walk on to the 3 rd floor the first thing you see is the International Gallery which was probably my favorite part of the floor. There were many different styles and techniques that I found interesting.My favorite piece was a lithograph picture by Mexican artist Elisabeth Catlett. Itwas called Two Generations (1979) which was a black and white lithograph of an older man and a younger boy. The older man was in the background and the younger boy was  in the front. The older man was dark and wrinkled. He wore a hat that covered his headwhich made it look like he worked outside or just spent a lot of time outdoors. He lookedlike he was in his 50’s or 60’s. The younger boy was probably 8 or 9 years old. Heseemed innocent yet mature and strong. I really liked how real the picture was because itwas touching and made me think about my family. It seemed as if both of them had agreat since of pride from where they came from and who they are. This picture waslocated in the corner next to another picture by Elisabeth Catlett called Singing their Song  (1992). As you continue to walk through this floor to the left is Portraits of Women by Women and to the right is Contemporary Figurative Prints. Located on this floor arethe works by Frida Kahlo. It was really nice to see her drawings in person since we juststudied her work not too long ago in class. Next to the portraits are Black and WhitePhotos. I really loved these. It looked like they were each telling a different story. In the back of the floor next to the stairway were the Acrylic Paintings on Canvas. I wasn’t toosure how I felt about those. Most people were drawn to them but I didn’t see how a bunchof mixed up colors was museum worthy. I’m guessing this was from my inexperience inanalyzing artwork even though I love to paint. Most of the people looking at these paintings were older women, probably in their 40’s and 50’s. There was only one malevisitor that I saw and he was glued to the Acrylic on Canvas work as well. My second piece I chose to write about was actually located on the marble stairway. The paintingwas by American artist Judy Chicago. The painting, Through the Flower  (19, reallygrabbed my attention. I loved the colors and how large the painting was (72”x72”.) I feltlike I was sucked in. The flower’s center was a light blue and it had rotating light red petals with light yellow tips around the center. It took up the entire frame and at times it  felt as if the flower was moving. Even though there was blue in most of the picture it wasvery warm to me and inviting.I really enjoyed my visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The building was beautiful and I liked how there was a diverse group of artists represented.What really drew me in was the International section because I love learning aboutdifferent cultures and examining what they think and how they feel about topics, issues,etc. These women are very talented and I would probably come back again in the near future. I haven’t been to the National Gallery of Art in awhile but I would like to go back and compare the two more closely. The last time I went, I did not look for women artists but now I think I’ll be more aware of their presence and how they are represented. Theonly thing I didn’t really like about the National Museum of Women in the Arts was howthey art was displayed. It felt like you were looking at these paintings on the walls atsomeone’s house rather than in a museum. There was not a large selection within thecategories either. I would’ve liked to have seen more work from Frida Kahlo and evenmore work from other women artists.
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