8/17/2007

A Day at Dupont Circle

The Dupont Circle area has been an important art destination for me since the mid 1970s. The Washington Women's Art Center was located on Q Street, just a few blocks from the Circle. That's where I first exhibited my art work in the 1970s.

For ten years Jim had an office at the corner of R Street and Connecticutt Ave, just four blocks from the Circle. That was his most favorite downtown office.

Today I went to Dupont Circle to gallery sit at Gallery 10. For 30 years Gallery 10 has been located a half a block from the circle, on the second floor over Kramer Books, a long time fixture in this spot. When my turn to gallery sit rolls around once a month I taste the city, walk the sidewalks, pass the resturants, touch base with sweet memories and walk up the 25 steep steps to the gallery. I love all of it except the stairs. They are mercilessly steep, reminding me of an alp. I notice the postman also pants for breath when he stops in with the mail.


Today, typical for Washington in August, it was hot and the air was a heavy humid blanket. Last week we were tourists in Pittsburgh - today I watched the tour bus pass with folks taking a look at the old buildings, getting the feel of Washington, maybe even noticing me as one of the few people on the street in this hot weather.

Changing perspectives.

Gallery sitting is basically a long boring day, hoping someone you know comes into the gallery to check out the latest exhibition. That did not happen for me today - only three people walked up the stairs to see Melissa Burley's interesting and innovatinve Illuminations.

The show includes lamps made from found "trash" -a new take on recycling.
The lamps are surprisingly beautiful. Burley has assembled very appealing shapes of bits of colored glass, bottles,and rusting metal objects.to make the assmeblage which she lights. Sitting with an exhibit for a long time gives me a chance to really look at the art work, to notice that some of the lamps remind me of the Arabian Nights magic lamps, that they have a mystical quality, that these bits of discards have been reorganized into very lovely, haunting and satisfying new shapes.

One disconcerting aspect of sitting this show - all the light were off except for the lights emanating from the pieces themselves. The only work light was a small desk lamp - so I spent a long day in the cool, quiet,darkened gallery - a time for thinking and working on the computer - nice.

At five o'clock I closed the gallery and walked across Connecticutt Avenue to the subway entrance. The Dupont Circle entrance on Q Street has a wide gaping entrance and the escalator slowly moves you straight down into that cavern. Since I don't ride Metro every day I notice everything - how deep it is, that the walls are showing their age, that it is dirty, and that there is a wind blowing through. After the bright sun light its another darkened space. Like the gallery has been all day.


But this is different. This is underground.

I think of the men who worked underground to dig this tunnel. I think of the men trapped in the mine in Utah. Of the rescue workers who were killed and injured yesterday trying to save them.

Riding the underground train makes me nervous. How do they have the courage to work underground?

God Bless them. And their families.

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