Places to Go - The Smithsonian American Art Museum - Farm to Table, Men Playing Gourds, and Video Art (Washington DC)


Last Saturday, we took the whole family to a Farm to Table event at the Smithsonian American Art museum, which the girls really enjoyed. Each farm had a table with a craft project. The girls: decorated aprons, painted bookmarks, and collaged the cover for a cookbook full of local recipes (each vendor printed a different recipe to collect). All of the recipes involved fresh, seasonal ingredients (lots of kale), several of which my kids usually have little interest in, but that they now CAN'T WAIT to try because of said cookbook.


Unfortunately, T wanted nothing to do with crafts or locavores, so Dan had to try to entertain a very fussy preschooler (I had the flimsy excuse of the girls "needing" me). Luckily, the band started up - the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra - their sound vacillated between weird, quirky, and amazing. But most importantly, they entertained T.


How fun does farm camp sound?


While the rest of our family listened to the Gourds, P and I sidetripped to the third floor to check out Nam June Paik's video exhibit, which is a MUST SEE (unfortunately photography is not allowed).

We first watched a wall of 215 interacting TVs whose content varied, sometimes the monitors collaborated to make giant cartoons and videos, whereas other times each one displayed something different. P could not unglue her eyes (though parents beware, one of the TVs contains a questionable video of two girls in lingerie, P didn't seem to notice this installment, but some kids might).

After the TV wall, we walked into a surreal garden full of TV monitors and foliage, sort of like Lord of the Flies meets MTV. At this point, P started saying "mom, this is amazing. i love this place." Other artworks include: old stereos made in sculpture, Buddha videotaping himself, several monitors with shapes and lines, and graffitied television sets. I highly suggest a visit, the exhibit runs through August 11, 2013, so you have plenty of time to get there.

After Nam June Paik, we quickly toured the third floor's other modern art offerings. P loved the horse made out of driftwood and the lifelike woman in the cafe. We would have stayed for awhile, but the others were waiting for us in the courtyard, so I needed to promise P "we'd be back soon."

"Really, mom, because this is a cool place, so we NEED to come back." Message received.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is housed in the same building as the National Portrait Gallery, right by the Verizon Center. It is open from 11:30 am to 7 pm daily (making it a great place to go after school). Click here for more information.


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