Friday, February 1, 2013

Keep It Local: The Phillips Collection

Mom and I were determined to get out and about yesterday (actually, mom probably would have been happy to stay holed-up in Starbucks) so we ventured out to check out the Phillips Collection, which has been on our list for a while. The Phillips opened in 1921 as "America's first museum of modern art" and is now home to a collection of more than 3,000 works in an intimate, renovated and expanded Dupont Circle "home." We checked out the permanent collection and current exhibitions online and picked our targets: I wanted to say hello to Xavier Veilhan's "The Bear," which I decided looked like a giant gummy bear (I even brought a gummy bear with me to show him), and mom wanted to spend some time in the Rothko Room.

We also picked up one of the Collection's Discovery Packs for families and eyed a few more pieces to check out, including William Meritt Chase's "Hide and Seek" and Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party." The Collection is pretty kid friendly -- it offers a variety of activities for families and we ran into three groups of school aged children on tours. BUT, we gotta say, there are more following, watchful eyes in that joint than we've ever run into in any other museum. You are followed. Closely. Room to room. By undercover docent/security guards. Now that might have been just because I am 2 1/2 years old (it's more likely because mom just looks shady), but it is unsettling until you get used to it (then we both might have had a little fun with "how close can I get to this painting before you lose your s*it?"). Although, I guess if I had a ton of priceless works of art hanging around my house, I would be all over you, too.

I had a ball. I insisted on bringing my Hello Kitty "purse" and liberally applying lipgloss in several rooms (which made "security" in the Rothko Room verrrrry nervous). I dug Degas' dancers, Renoir's party, and was mesmerized by Leo Villareal's light box "Scramble." And I thought it was hysterical that  Modigliani's "Elena Povolozky" had a bowtie on just like me.

The Phillips Collection is open Tuesday - Friday (by donation if there is no ticketed exhibition; $12 for adults, free 18 and under when a ticketed exhibition is showing) and Saturday and Sunday when no ticketed exhibition is on view ($10 for adults, free 18 and under). NOTE: that means until the new Jackson Pollock exhibition opens on February 9th, which looks super cool btw, admission during the week is by donation only.

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