Beyond the Monuments: Washington DC Art Galleries to Check out Right Now
Washington DC is famous for its monuments but visitors are often surprised to find a vibrant art scene in the capital. Shedding it’s buttoned up reputation these Washington DC art galleries are showing off the capital’s creative side. A weekend is the perfect length of time to check out the art scene in Washington DC; I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite museums and galleries that offer a collection of exhibits that range from thought provoking and awe inspiring to fun and whimsical. Here are five Washington DC art galleries to check out right now.
I’ve walked past the Renwick Gallery countless times without stopping in and that is a mistake I will never make again. Dedictated to modern takes on American craft, the Renwick aims to show how handmade objects affect American culture. Volume, a light installation by Leo Villarreal uses computer code to create lighting sequences that will never repeat. Parallax Gap by Freeland Buck proves it always pay off to look up. Featuring nine ceilings from iconic American buildings layered atop one another, Parallax Gap offers a different perspective as you move throughout the room.
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
At the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden creativity isn’t confined to four walls. Whimsical large scale sculptures provide a thoughtful contrast to the monuments and classical archtecture around the National Mall. Friday evenings throughout the summer the Sculpture Garden features open air jazz concerts while the in winter months the fountain is converted into an outdoor skating rink.
The Hirshorn Museum
The Smithsonian’s Hishorn Museum is a celebration of modern and contemporary art.Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is one of the most influential and thought provoking artists of our time. Ai Weiwei:Trace at Hirshorn features portraits of political activists from around the world, many who have been detained or exiled for thirst beliefs, against a graphic 360 degree wallpaper depicting items of surveillance and free speech. Trace will be at Washington’s Hirshorn Museum through January 1, 2018. Outside you’ll find The Wish Tree by Yoko Ono. The Wish Tree invites participants to write down their wishes (which on the day I visited ranged from pizza to world peace) that are then collected to be used for a later exhibit in Reykjavik.
The National Building Museum is a family friendly museum dedicated to sharing the impact of engineering and architecture on American culture. The great hall features soaring 75 foot high Corinthian columns the plays host to a roster of fascinating exhibits.The Hive (currently running through September 4, 2017) is a series of interlocking paper tubes creating several domes reaching up to 60 feet high. The result is totally mesmerizing, a bit trippy and just flat out fun.
Artechouse, Washington DC’s first interactive digital art space, is the future of art with a focus on technology and immersive experiences. Artechouse’s current installation XYTZ:Abstract Landscapes (running through September 3,2017) is a artistic playground that is better experienced than viewed. Interactive digital exhibits are both futuristic and whimsical. Artechouse is an exciting addition to Washington DC’s art scene.
Where are your favorite art galleries in Washington DC? Please share in the comments!
My visit to Washington DC was in collaboration with Visit Washington DC , as always all opinions are my own.