When we were kids, my parents would take (okay, drag) us to visit the Smithsonian Art Museums. I dreaded those trips. What kid wants to spend an afternoon looking at canvases with indecipherable images on them? The one exception was the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. I have loved this museum ever since I first set foot in it.
From then until now, one of my favorite pieces in the museum’s collection is the giant Alexander Calder mobile that hangs from the roof of the entry hall. I will forever marvel at its simple beauty and wonder at how all the metal fins balance so perfectly. Did you know that despite its size, the mobile gently moves just from the movement of the air caused by people walking around the entry hall? How did Calder figure out to engineer this beautiful work of his?
As an adult, I look forward to going to the museum to revisit its permanent collections and to check out the temporary exhibitions.
After I finish with the exhibits in the East Wing, I take the tunnel over to the West Wing of the National Gallery of Art. I can easily spend an entire day just visiting the two Wings and when the weather is nice, I venture out to the sculpture garden to see the large works by artists including Calder, David Smith, and Claes Oldenburg.
If you come to D.C., you have to visit the National Gallery of Art—if not for you, then for me. I need someone to tell me how Calder created that beautiful mobile of his!