Entries by Ellen Kwatnoski

Hike the Hoodoos!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah – inspiration is everywhere! “Hoodoos” are pillars of dramatically shaped colored stone, like armies of Chinese terra cotta warriors marching along a vast pink and salmon amphitheater. These fanciful creations, made by millennia of erosion and geological forces, cast a spell on all who visit. When my husband Richard and […]

Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color

A branch of the Smithsonian museum devoted to American craft, The Renwick Gallery near Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, with its cocoa stone and brick edifice and motto over the door—“Dedicated to Art”—is a treat no matter what’s going on inside it. Now a rare treat can be seen there: “Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and […]

Face Time: New Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery

Each year I look forward to the National Portrait Gallery’s Annual exhibition of the winners of the Outwin Boochever Award. Named for the dedicated docent who endowed this competition, the award encourages contemporary American portraiture. Entries include self-portraits, likenesses of relatives, friends or strangers— the only caveat is that the artist must have had direct […]

Faking It: How the Camera Lied, Even Before Photoshop

Before there was Photoshop . . . yes, you could manipulate photography in many fascinating ways, as the show, “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, so brilliantly shows. You begin your mystery tour with charming tinted daguerreotypes, photomontages of Civil War generals which include the ones […]

HAIR! Pre-Raphealites Invade Washington

I’m not a fan of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, despite the sisterhood I feel with the Titian-haired gals he painted so lovingly. Too much languor, treacley sentiment, overwrought “classicism,” and way too much billowing hair! Thousands disagree, maybe millions, and they’re flocking to the National Gallery of Art’s “Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848 – 1900.” […]

New York City Ballet Extravaganza

  My fellow balletomane and dear friend Susan and I enjoyed last night’s performance by the New York City Ballet at the Kennedy Center–a feast for all senses, and in all senses, a masterwork. The program opened with “Carousel (A Dance),” music by Richard Rogers, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon. Under carnival lights, a coltish Lauren Lovette, […]

Palate Refresher: Kreeger Museum, Washington, DC

Visit this jewel box of a museum to clear your mind and spirit while feasting on one of the world’s most stunning collections of 19th and 20th century paintings, sculpture and African and Asian art. The private collection of Carmen and David Kreeger is housed in a 1967 Phillip Johnson home, a work of art […]

Pump Me Up!

Seeking total immersion in the early to mid-’eighties, the time in which my novel, Still Life with Aftershocks, is set, I dove into the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s show, Pump Me Up, which explores the DC go-go, punk, and hardcore subcultures through memorabilia, photos, videos, and iconic Globe posters in knock-your-eye-out Day-Glo orange, red, yellow, […]