The goal of my very first Museumpalooza in October of 2015 was simple: See as many things, in as many museums, in as many cities, as time and budget would allow.
But I also wanted enough breathing room to explore interesting places and do the "Anthony Bourdain thing" for each of the cities I visited – chat with local people, eat local food, drink local booze, and get lost on the local subway system – the last of which I'm pretty sure Bourdain would never do.
With these goals in mind for our inaugural Museumpalooza, my faithful traveling Tyrannosaur and I set off to fulfill a lofty quest: visit 15 museums in 10 days, across three major cities: Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.
...but not before stopping at Whatburger before our flight out, because we are still Texans and we have our priorities.
Grabbing this last bite of Texas before embarking upon #Museumpalooza with my faithful traveling buddy, Tim the T-Rex!
#Museumpalooza Stop #1: The Hirshhorn. Tim the T-Rex digs the outdoor atrium. (He likes fountains.)
Tim basks in the neon glow of Dan Flavin's untitled (to Helga and Carlo, with respect and affection. This is the largest configuration of this particular piece that has ever been installed. #Museumpalooza
Tim was also overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the Hirshhorn's Barbara Kruger installation. He even bought a postcard, because Kruger's art is so focused on #consumerism that she even had the foresight to put a gift shop in the middle of her installation. #Museumpalooza
Quite possibly the largest of Alexander Calder's mobiles that #TimTheTRex has ever seen. It's 76 feet long, and was Calder's final major work of art. #Museumpalooza
Well, this looks vaguely familiar. Spanning 45 feet high by 45 feet wide, Graft is the first of Roxy Paine's Dendroid series (not located in Fort Worth) that Tim the T-Rex has ever seen. #Museumpalooza
Giotto's Madonna and Child (1310/1315) And dinosaur (2015). Giotto was a legend among Renaissance painters long before the "Ninja Turtle painters" arrived on the scene, and was renowned for his ability to create depth in his paintings...which was still a radical new concept at the time. #Museumpalooza
"Whatcha thinkin' about?" - Tim the T-Rex. Fun fact: There are about 28 full-size castings of Rodin's The Thinker, although many smaller bronze castings of the sculpture were made much later...and this is one of those. #Museumpalooza #AugusteRodin
Taking a quick break from "Tim posts" to say this: I've seen A LOT of art. But occasionally, I see one of my all-time favorite paintings in person for the first time (Four Dancers by Degas) and I still manage to get star-struck. #Museumpalooza #NoFilter
Sometimes, while aimlessly wandering the National Mall, you gotta go for the Forrest Gump reference.
But while visiting the memorials, we kept things appropriately respectful. As you do. (Or should.)
World War II Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance and Washington Monument behind the picture. The entire National Mall, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol, is 1.9 miles long. #Museumpalooza
Tim the T-Rex loves writers, and enjoyed chilling with Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. "Mark Twain") in the National Portrait Gallery. #Museumpalooza
While entertaining his literary friends in this painting by Christian Schussele, Washington Irving occasionally cast a fond eye over his beloved pet Tyrannosaurus Rex. #Museumpalooza
#TimTheTRex thought this was a pretty bitchin' piano. And it should be: Teddy Roosevelt commissioned it for the White House in 1903. #Museumpalooza
Sometimes, Tim the T-Rex misses Pangea.
Easily one of the coolest artworks I've seen during #Museumpalooza so far: Nam June Palk's Electronic Superhighway: Continental US at the Smithsonian American Art Museum is bad-ass. Each state has their own specific video loop set up on the TV sets clustered inside of its neon outline...a pre-cursor to the Internet age if there ever was one. #Museumpalooza
Turns out artist Nancy Graves makes fake Pleistocene Skeletons out of steel, wax, marble dust and paint. This one is based on the bone structure of a camel.
To our never-ending amusement, Tim the T-Rex and I continue to have WAY too much fun standing on Carl Andre sculptures, which is totally a thing you can do. #Museumpalooza
But I didn't start REALLY geeking out until I discovered the SAAM archives, which I want for my very own.
Another 4 1/2 hours later, and #Museumpalooza stops #3 and #4 – National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum – are in the books!
After stopping for a brief (yet not Whataburger-ish enough) bite of sustenance...
...it was time to mix things up a little bit, on the museum front.
And now for something completely different: #Museumpalooza Stop #5 is the International Spy Museum! #Agent00Rex
Tim the T-Rex will be taking his martinis shaken (not stirred) for the foreseeable future. #Museumpalooza #Bond
Once we finished up at the International Spy Museum, we had *just* enough time to briefly explore the Mansion at O Street. While not a "typical" museum, this place is wild: it has over 100 interconnected rooms and more than 70 secret doors, and boasts a significant collection of signed guitars, pop culture memorabilia and music-related documents.
Things Tim the T-Rex gets excited about: secret hidden doors! And this kooky, whimsical house has 70+ of them! #Museumpalooza
Tim made some new friends at the Mansion on O Street. He learned the ways of the Force, and how to be the musical voice of a generation. #Museumpalooza
The next day, I ended up in a place I'd been wanting to visit for a very long time: the Rothko Rooms at the Phillips Collection, which was approved by the artist himself. Aside from the Rothko Chapel in Houston, this is one of the few existing installations of Rothko paintings designed with input from the artist.
Tim the T-Rex was stoked to finally see the famous "Rothko Room" at the Phillips Collection today. #Museumpalooza
He also got to see Wolfgang Laib's Wax Room, which is, in fact, a room coated entirely in beeswax. For those of you wondering, it took 440 pounds of the stuff. #Museumpalooza
I have either stumbled upon Narnia, Heaven or both. Kramerbooks & Afterwords = Giant bookstore + fully stocked bar. Fair warning: I may never leave. #Museumpalooza
And obviously, I had to revisit my New Favorite Bookstore twice in less than 12 hours before departing D.C.
Well, that's it for me and #TimTheTRex from Washington DC! 7 museums down, more to go...#Museumpalooza continues onward to Philadelphia!
Museums visited: 7
- The Hirshhorn
- National Gallery of Art
- Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
- Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)
- The Renwick Galleries
- International Spy Museum
- Phillips Collection
Additional locations of note: