"Eastern Gallery" National Gallery of Art Tip by mattreider

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.: 84 reviews and 236 photos

by mattreider
  • Pointy - Washington D.C.
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  • The pointy end - Washington D.C.
      The pointy end
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  • Interior space with large Calder mobile - Washington D.C.
      Interior space with large Calder mobile
    by mattreider

My favorites at the Smithsonian used to be Air and Space... and.... well, yeah, everyone likes that one.

The National Gallery of Art has two buildings, For modern and post-modern art, as well as travelling exhibits in general, try the East Building, build into a difficult triangular space just to the right of the capital building. Like his pyramid in front of the Louvre, I.M. Pei uses the triangle to his distinct advantage to every detail, notice the triangular tiled floor. Wander throughout the building and appreciate it for its stunning, soaring galleries, and the details and clean lines. From inside, there is a dramatic japanese garden hidden from the street by a 10' wall.

My favorite part of the building is a spiral staircase that goes up the far point of the triangle, and a large room housing all sort of Calder mobiles hanging from ceilings and walls, with dramatic lighting and subtle motion.

"The new East Wing extension to the National Gallery, Washington D.C., sits on a difficult triangular site. However, Pei was able to exploit this feature, giving his wedge-shaped building a marvelous sense of presence and sculptural purpose. A post-tensioned concrete structure, this extension to Washington's major art gallery follows the triangular shape of its Fourth Avenue site. It is situated on an 8.8 acre site with some 110,000 sq ft of main exhibition space and 16,000 sq ft of temporary exhibition areas. This building helped to shape attitudes to museum building throughout the United States in the 1970s and later." Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p379.

Going to the basement, there is a long airport-like moving sidewalk that will take you to the West (more traditional) building, past a large museum store and cafe. Or you can walk at street level, and play with a glass-cube water fountain remeniscent of that other glass triangle mentioned earlier.

Address: Third and Seventh Streets at Constitution Avenue,
Directions: Smithsonian Metro Stop. National Mall, to the left of the Capitol Building
Phone: (202) 737-4215
Website: http://www.nga.gov/

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Oct 31, 2005
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