If you are in the DC area, a variety of world-renowned works of art are at your fingertips. The District of Columbia offers locals and visitors one of the best art museum opportunities anywhere in the United States: The National Gallery of Art, located on the National Mall at Constitution Avenue and 6th Street NW.
The NGA has over 150,000 artworks, including some of the most recognizable and beautiful in the world. There are over 25,000 square meters of gallery space, an incredible Sculpture Garden, and an amazing Masterpieces of American Furniture exhibit that will redefine the notion of art and craft.
And the best part is that admission is free!
A good smoke can sometimes stir a desire to explore and expand your mind and senses through art. There are few cities on earth that offer a better way to do just that than Washington, D.C.
A Variety of Pieces Housed at the NGA
The National Gallery of Art was founded in 1937 with the idea to showcase art dating from the Middle Ages to the present. There are paintings, photographs, prints, sculptures, and decorative arts in its galleries, ranging from the serious to the whimsical and from the simple to the profound.
One piece that’s sure to delight is Rene Magritte’s La Condition Humaine (1933), a surrealist canvas whose seemingly humorless title belies its whimsy: a painting of a view from a window that is obscured by a painting-within-the-painting of a landscape that seems to overlap exactly with the view itself. The smaller landscape can only be seen by carefully locating its borders. Magritte seems willing to challenge both our expectations as well as the inherent artifice of painting in a way that can be particularly enjoyable with an herbal assist.
The Dutch Baroque painter Johannes Vermeer was known for his breathtaking technique and ability to create something like silence on a painted canvas. His Girl with a Red Hat is an affecting portrait of a young girl with an extravagant red hat and blue wrap. Her bemused but ambiguous expression both invite and confront the viewer in equal measure, and display their painter’s exceptional talents. By contrast, Vermeer’s Woman Holding a Balance is a study in stillness and Vermeer’s facility with allegory. He reminds us to conduct our lives with the same balance as the instrument in the woman’s hands.
Of course, the subjects of the art of the Middle Ages were often religious in nature, which may not be appealing to everyone. But there are several paintings from the Middle Ages in the NGA collections that any art lover can enjoy. An excellent example is Saint John in the Desert by the early Renaissance painter Domenico Veneziano. The Saint stands naked in an acutely barren landscape, discarding his clothing as he foresakes luxury for piety. The painting’s flatness render it almost modern in style.
But, of course, the art that most piques the interest of many cannabis users–and everybody else, for that matter–may be that of the Impressionists. The NGA has quite a few in their exhibits, including several of Claude Monet’s garden paintings as well as beautiful portraits from Manet, Gaugin, Cezanne, and dozens of others. The soft and inspired way the Impressionists used color fits nicely with a quiet afternoon and a mellow buzz.
In the East Building, you can find the NGA’s Modern and Contemporary Art exhibitions. The action begins in the early 20th Century with the work of the “fauvists” like Matisse, whose vivid colors and free brushstrokes led critics of the day to label them as “beasts.”
Unquestionably modern is Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist). Pollock’s works reverberate with energy and creativity, and invite the viewer into the action inherent to the physical process of painting. You’ll also find the works of Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol, who brought an artist’s eye to an increasingly consummable American culture.
The East Building was designed by the master architect I.M. Pei. It is ultramodern in itself, a series of trapezoids that seem ready to sail away. This beautiful and unexpected design stand in marked contrast to the Greek Revival architecture of the West building: staid, traditional, and unsurprising. It is as if the museum itself is saying, “there are many ways to look at art.”
The Sculpture Garden is a third viewing option. A wide array of sculptures, some in the permanent collection and some on temporary display, are integrated with the garden’s natural environment, with luxurious plantings and trees setting off the artifice of each sculpture’s artistic geometry and color.
One sculpture that is anything but amusing is Magdalena Abakanowicz’s, Puellae (Girls). A Polish survivor of World War II, the sculptor heard an account of children who froze to death while being transported in cattle cars. She created 30 bronzes, standing as if at attention in a semi-regular formation, all without heads. It is a work of art that is raw and challenging.
The Sculpture Garden provides levity as a counterpoint. Louise Bourgeois’s Spider is one such sculpture, both frightening and funny. Bourgeois made spiders a core of her late period pieces and associated the arachnids with her mother, who died when the artist was 21. Tony Smith’s Wandering Rocks is just that: five irregular box-like forms that look as if they are wandering across the yard.
The Sculpture Garden takes on different aspects depending on the season: riotously green in Spring and Summer, multicolored in Autumn, barren in Winter. The changes in the seasons also changes the experience of viewing the sculptures.
Is it Legal to Consume Cannabis in DC?
In Washington, D.C., it is legal to consume, grow, possess small amounts for personal use, and “gift” limited amounts to others. However, is not legal to sell. Cannabis should be consumed at home or at private residences but not public property in DC.
Where can I Consume Cannabis Before Visiting a Museum?
People are only allowed to smoke cannabis on private property. This means you cannot smoke on public lands, streets, sidewalks, parks, malls, or anywhere where the public is invited, like a restaurant or bar. You can also be arrested for smoking in your car. D.C. police can arrest you for violating these rules.
If you’re wondering how creativity and cannabis can combine, contact FastSliceDC about delivery options that can broaden your horizons. If you want to relax your brain and open your mind before heading to see priceless works of art, call us at (202) 445-0867 or email [email protected].