I don’t mean to alienate a good 8 million people, but is Washington DC a strange place or what?

Go to the Corcoran Gallery near The Memorial and check out Ansel Adams in one wing, and Annie Liebowitz directly across. It’s a somewhat peculiar experience – smallish pictures of vast mountain vistas one second, and then huge portraits of celebrities in various stages of undress. What ends up happening is a glamorification of Yosemite National and a landscaping of Susan Sontag.

Meanwhile back in Europe, TV broadcasters just got the greenlight to advertise via product placement. They’re calling it, “Television sans Frontieres.” Talk about a bad appropriation of a well-meaning formula. As if everything wasn’t already an advertisement. I just can’t believe it wasn’t already happening.


  1. DC is a strange place, of course, but for reasons probably other than the ones you’ve mentioned. Are the curatorial decisions of the Corcoran a reflection on the city at large?* That’s like saying NYC is a bizarre place because you didn’t like the way an exhibit at the Whitney was laid out.

    BTW, referring to a memorial in DC as The Memorial is probably not specific enough. I’m guessing you mean the WWII Memorial, which is nearest to the Corcoran.

    Boy, I’m tetchy this morning, aren’t I? Sorry.

    *The abandonment of a Gehry-designed addition to the museum, however, very well may be.

  2. I think Heidi meant the Washington Monument, so called because it was started when he was alive, but not completed until MANY years later. You can see the difference in coloration on the marble where work was halted.
    Having lived (94-97) in the District during the Golden Age (1993-2000), I did perceive strange realities and ironies. National Airport being named after Ronald Reagan, who fired the air traffic controllers. A blizzard shutting down the government the day after the ’94 budget impasse was resolved. So, no, it’s not a surprise. Typical inside the beltway effect. But I am curious… did she photograph Robert Mapplethorpe? THAT would be the ubermetaironic moment of the exhibition!

  3. I went to the Modernismo exhibit at the Corcoran, which was excellent. I’ve been meaning to get over there again for this new one. I think either artist alone would be worth the price of admission, and combining them sounds great! Weird, but great!