[Those who are facebook friends of mine may remember a version of this text that appeared as a “note” almost a year ago, when I viewed this installation for the first time. Bear with me, in the name of getting my posting butt in gear, and as I was newly awed by this installation on a visit to DC just a few days ago, I create a post here today, using my old image and my old text, on the same subject. New new posts on productions seen in DC and Boston and Philly to follow soon, as well as works in development and reflections on moving my life one more time. Thrill and exhaustion in equal measure. In the meantime, art rejuvenates. And note that what began as a temporary installation appears to have an unlimited run … let’s hope this is permanent at this point.]
So, I’ve visited the National Gallery of Art’s East Wing many many many times since it opened in the 1970s. And when I lived in Washington DC from 1997-2005, I would visit frequently, often weekly, to stop by a favorite Picasso or Magritte or Matisse (the cut outs!) or the Calder mobile hanging from the ceiling. Just to gape. I’m sure I looked like a tourist even when I was a local and frankly I didn’t give a damn. Cause I was and am and always will be just agog at the city and the art and all of it.
So I’m here today 4 May 2009 on a visit and I thought I’ve visit my old friends. (And frankly the Phillips Collection isn’t open on Mondays so its to the National Gallery I went .. they’re ALWAYS open.) And I was just gobsmacked by an installation I hadn’t heard about before wandering through (ain’t that the best?) … that just stunned me into staring and standing and smiling and snapping pictures.
Leo Villareal has crafted a light sculpture in the Concourse running underground between the “old” main National Gallery building and the East Wing. The tunnel and the moving walkway remain unchanged. What Villareal has played with is our sense of the space itself. Through light.
It moves. It waves. It almost breathes.