July 18, 2003
My boyfriend Rash visited this weekend, and we browsed three exhibits at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (by the Smithsonian castle) …
At right is a sculpture which currently hangs down the main staircase at the Sackler. Monkeys Grasp for the Moon, by Xu Bing, is "an installation of word shapes, each one a representation of the word 'monkey' rendered in 20 languages and writing systems including Chinese, Japanese, English, Thai and Braille."
Monkeys Grasp for the Moon is about 5 stories high, with 3 stories of it visible at right, 2 more in the first pic below. At the bottom is a shimmering pool with well-wishers' coins. (We decided to drop a coin from the stairway shown, but didn't quite figure on the coin's trajectory curving as it fell, causing it to bounce off the hanging sculpture, and finally tinkling across the floor a level or two down. Oops!)
Here are a few related pics, including one of the signs and a symbol key for 10 of the languages represented.
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Also, here's one pic of a Noguchi clay sculpture, which was in one of the exhibits we browsed. I appreciated some of Noguchi's work, but much of it didn't speak to me or elicit an emotional response.
King of the Road
Featured in the last year in Smithsonian Magazine (apparently, I couldn't pinpoint the issue), this Pakistani truck takes the "Art Car" concept to new heights of skill and realization. The vehicle pictured below is apparently one of thousands—all decorated—being used daily all over Pakistan.
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Raghubir Singh's Photos
The exhibit I was most enthused about, "Auto-Focus: Raghubir Singh's Way Into India" didn't allow me to take pictures (but see below). Singh's photographs—with India's widely used "Ambassador" car as a common thread—opened my eyes to a new approach to photography ... one in which sponteneity is a key element to nearly every picture.
Here's an Ambassador car on display at the Sackler (yes, you can get inside):
Here are a few pictures gathered from around the web. More images than were actually exhibited can be found in the book A Way Into India. Sure wish I had lots more to share!
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