DC1223: 1day/3muse: Art Museum of the Americas

The Art Museum of the Americas is a free venture into traveling shows. It is housed in a small building on 18th Street at the corner of  Constitution Avenue. This visit was Chilean art, and as I get a little smarter–not much–I am seeing some interesting South American visual ideas especially the Chileans, which is distinct and classical.  These pieces are more involved with developing concept, rather than a final outcome. This kind of art generally leads, down the line, to some very innovative art, but at the moment the thinking is alive and still in progress.

With Traveling Light a group of artists  (Catalina Bauer, Rodrigo Canala, Rodrigo Galecio, Gerardo Pulido and Tomás Rivas) transport themselves, rather than artwork, to make an on site showing. The results are interesting and most work together in the show. It is not a show of producing “great” art, but of an approach on how to produce art projects with students.

The bottom shot shows the beautifully colored work, Gerardo Pulido’s Lapi lázuli en pintura al temple v/s Pino Melis al esmalte spray, the crocheted piece by Catalina Bauer and Rodrigo Canala’s Banderines vacíos (Empty Banners) occupies two doorways.

For me, the more important show is Common Place by Justine Graham and Ruby Rumié. The project consists of photographing dozens of pairs of women, who have not known each other but come together filling out a mutual survey. In some shots subjects connect, some not. They are photographed from in front and behind. Do the women connect, what do the portraits show? It is one of those great conceptual projects, like we used to do in college. In this case, the thinking and research involved could lead to a still greater project, and it would be fun to watch where the artists will take their thinking.Unrelated to this is a beautiful vestibule covered in blue tile and Aztec type imagery, which has a beautiful appeal. There is a floor plaque commemorating the building in that spirit of “pan-Americanism” of yesterday, signed off by Teddy Roosevelt and sponsored by Andrew Carnegie. How much our relationship with South and Middle America has changed.

Check out the sculpture that sits outside in case you can’t find the building.


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