Addam Wassel's Blogging Adventure

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After scarfing down some great brunch tapas, we headed over to the National Gallery today to check out one of the final weekends of the Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmarte exhibit (Tloose Latrek to everyone named Alisa).

After sweltering in the humid DC summer, we arrived at our air-conditioned palace to wait in a 10 minute entrance line. I only mention this because, once through, the first seven or so rooms were like a frat party gone bad. First, there were WAY too many people. This hindered my enjoyment of the artwork greatly. I couldn't move freely back and forth between pieces without have to turn sideways and squeeze by 15 or 20 people. Once the pushing was over, I got to stand 10 feet away from the painting and admire from afar. Some works are meant to be enjoyed further away but not Lautrec's. Secondly, because of the aforemention crowd, the rooms were hot and loud. Just unplesant overall. Luckily, by the time we hit his posters and such, the crowd had thinned out and I really got to get close to some of the work. I have to say, Lautrec really did own his lines. They moved in nearly all of his works. Some of his figure drawings reminded me of the late Al Hirschfeld, my favorite illustrator. His sketches and drawings stood apart from the others on display. They were fluid and used the line sparingly. Quite impressive. The ending room, with a circus theme, felt thrown together and really didn't match the rest of the show, leaving me with puzzled walking out of it.

Overall, I'd give the exhibit a B, just because I felt it focused more on Montmatre, which granted was half the show, than the primary figurehead of Lautrec. His work stood beyond any others — and there was a Picasso Blue Period piece so that's saying something. I, personally, would have enjoyed more of his work posters and typographic prowless. But again, that is coming from someone who is a type junkie and designer... but that's a minor compalint.

One side note (this is for you Alisa). Afterwards, we headed out to a festival happening on Pennsylvania. From inside the gallery we could see the tents thrown up. Alisa asked what it was, Adit answered with "I can read a First Aid sign," and I quickly pronouned it the First Aid Festival 2005. Which was semi-right. Well, no... it wasn't right at all. It was actually the Phillipines Festival, full of lots of delicious looking food. None of which any of us could sample. Whoops...

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