|Tabla/sax/beatbox concert at Atlas Theater|
Partly because of this, I've always subscribed to the idea that art is one of the few things worth paying for -- concert tickets, books, paintings, instruments. These, along with travel, are worth my paycheck, and make for an easy sacrifice of things like fashion, makeup, cab rides and expensive drinks.
As my second experiment this year, I spent the last few weeks discovering DC's art, in all it's forms. I attended slam poetry events, visited the Hirschorn twice for an Ai Wei Wei exhibit, perused the National Art Gallery with a teleguide, listened to jazz, spoke to street artists from Nigeria and Northeast, saw a tabla-sax-violin-beatbox concer at Atlas Theatre, and went to a handful of photo exhibitions.
|Nat'l Art Gallery|
It isn't hard to find art in this city. You just have to stay off the Hill and say yes to every invitation you get, every flyer you see on a lamppost. And suddenly there's a 15-year-old kid standing in front of you reciting a poem about the emotional and physical abuse that daggered through his childhood, making your entire body shake because you can't lift your fingers to snap when someone's soul has taken over the theater.
You learn that a man's curated pile of rusty rods and portraits of his middle finger were strong enough to have him detained by the Chinese government, and that the swiftness of a painter's brushstroke can speak volumes about his mental, physical and political state. There's ancient, and new, and accidental, and ruined. There is art from the poor and rich, and from men who decided to equate a smaller "package" with masculinity because they had control of the industry.
|DC Youth Poetry Slam|
I think it's cheesy to say I discovered art this month. I never lost art, whatever that word means, and I've always valued the delicate design and rhythm of the places I've lived. But I also think that an intentional focus on that graffiti in Shaw and the guy at the farmer's market with pen sketches has shed light on the District's relationships. It's a chronicle of the city's heartbreak and strength and violence -- and it's told through acrylic, wood, word and the absence thereof.