We will leave from the hotel at 1–pm today. Bernie is keen to relax, pace himself and hone his Sudoku skills. Martie is keen on not relaxing and honing her Smithsonian Museum skills. She is off faster than a scalded cat to her first stop the Museum of Natural History. I visited this yesterday and was quite overawed by the quality and quantity of displays, the net result was not much photographic evidence. Martie was more astute and recorded some interesting information provided by Projecto PaleoAngola regarding Mosasaurs. These creatures originally lived on land, were not sharks, whales or dinosaurs but reptiles, most closely linked to monitor lizards who took to the seas 98 million years ago. They lived around the globe and died out about 66 million years ago. Angolasaurus baccagei, the oldest of the Southern Hemisphere mosasaurs, was a strong swimmer hunting fish along the Angola coast. It dominated the coast growing to about 4 metres in length. This project in Angola at Bentiaba, down the road from us so to speak, started in 2005 and is an extremely rewarding site. 100 million years ago it was underwater but huge uplifts and erosion have exposed the sites revealing many fossils.
Martie’s next stop is The Hirshhorn featuring a number of temporary exhibitions.
Marcel DuChamp, a French American artist who broke down
the boundaries between works of art and everyday objects. His art forged a way
for Pop Art and his thinking challenged the notion of what art is thereby
influencing the mindset of artists who followed. Some of his art reveals his
thought: “I was very happy when I discovered that I could introduce humour into
renowned artist Mark Bradford debuts Pickett’s Charge, The Battle of
Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863, the critical turning point of the Civil War. This
work is monumental, spanning nearly 400 linear feet and comprising eight
canvases inspired by artist Paul Philippoteaux’s nineteenth-century 360 degree
cyclorama in Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania.
And Pat Steirs’ latest exhibition, her largest painting
installation to date, consisting of thirty large paintings, which are exhibited
as one group, taking up the entire second floor of the Hirshhorn and together
they create a huge colour wheel with each painting delivering a brilliance of colour
which shifts hues to the next painting, thereby creating a full spectrum of
colour in the circular room.
And then a rather panicky long walk/run back to the hotel followed by a seamless return to the airport with a particularly well-informed driver. We board our plane. The flight is full. We’re grateful that this SAA flight, Washington DC to Johannesburg, is actually happening due to the recent strike and that we are on it. And abruptly, our North American visit is over.