06 August 2017

My Week(s) In Photos: 7.10.17 // 8.6.17

It's been a minute. I've been traveling. I've had friends in town. I accidentally reset my iPhone and lost most of my photos from July. Let's call this a short blog. Let's keep the ball rolling.

Magic golden garbage, made of balloons that spelled out my name and age. Remnants from my birthday, ages and ages ago.

A quick snap from the Verbal Description tour I co-led last month. We've been doing test runs of tours that include tactile opportunities (objects to touch and smell) as well as verbal descriptions of the building architecture and some objects from our collection. It's something I've been spearheading, with the support of the Education Team and the Public Programs Department, and we are honestly having such a fun time. It's forcing us to look more closely and more slowly at the works on display, and giving us the opportunity to play with words to create rich descriptions of somewhat complicated and experimental artworks. I'm so lucky to have colleagues who are just as excited as I am to bring accessible programming to the Hirshhorn!

The beginning of July I was pretty good about waking up early to do yoga. I've since dropped off the routine, but I'm hoping to jump back in during the month of August. Will check in with myself in a week or so...

Spotted on my walk through the back alley behind my building. I love this quiet bright spot of solidarity. It fills me up every time I walk past it.

I flew to my beloved Chicago for a minute. I visited my sister, slept in my brother's bed, saw Hamilton Leithauser at Pitchfork, drank good things, ate good things, stayed out entirely too late, made new friends, saw old friends, and soaked up my city. 

Before heading to Pitchfork, Mari and I made a pitstop at the new Ace hotel in the West Loop. The burgers were top notch, the cocktails were too good to remember.

Pitchfork was silly, I got leg cramps dancing. Afterwards I popped by La Sirena to see the boys of Whitney DJ a set (some old friends). It was like a Northside College Prep ten-year reunion. Old old friends who are in bands, old friends who run the beverage program at the bar, old friends who own woodworking businesses, and me, that girl who works at the museum in DC. I ended the night with the world's tiniest bar bill ($0), a sore throat from talking non-stop, and cheeks that hurt from grinning. I love nights like this.

The following morning, Moriah and I met for coffee at La Colombe, i.e. over-caffeinated power gossip. After 20 minutes of filling each other in on the good stuff, we hopped into Mo's car and ran errands. I enjoyed half of a pretzel from PQM (pictured) while she did her shopping, before we ran to McCormick Place (not pictured) so she could grab her half marathon packet. God do I love this woman.

Instead of going to Pitchfork on Saturday, Mari and I hopped on a bus with her law firm buddies and were whisked away to one of my favorite places in the world: New Buffalo, MI. I've been going every year since 2012, but know I won't be able to make it up there this year. So a day with my toes in the water and a snazzy glass of white wine satisfied my primal urge to commune with my beautiful Lake Michigan (luv u bb).

Always wear black at the beach.

Mise en place: sick selection of buffet goods. Mini lobster rolls, buckets of clams, pasta salad, endless wine, the best little raw tuna tacos, oh and a dessert bar.

Following dinner, we headed to the beach for s'mores under the setting sun. I forgot how good it can feel to sit and stare out at the water, with the sand running through your toes, and the temperature dropping. The best light show in the world happens every morning and every evening, but I haven't seen a sunset like this in years.

S'mores are actually my favorite dessert.

Selfie in a fancy powder room. At this point I was ready to power down and crawl into bed.

The next day we went to my beloved Big Star, and my friend Theo served us (<3). Margs, walking tacos, dogs, and time with Dodi all while dining outside and it not being too hot. God did I miss this place.

So maybe I got a little bit tipsy in my yellow jumpsuit before running to Penelope's and purchasing these...

What might be the most important purchase I've ever made. The world's best sunglasses.

We had fun at Pitchfork, but I think I'm officially too old for festivals. Sry guys!

The following day I met Dodi for my all-time favorite brunch at Lula Cafe. We gabbed over bagels and eggs.


After, I met up with long-time bestie, Maud. We played tourists in our own city and I insisted on have our photo taken in front of The Bean.

Rashayla Marie Brown at the Chicago Cultural Center *hands in the air emoji*. The photo on the bottom, second from the left, appeared in an exhibition I co-curated in 2015. It was a welcome surprise to see it again.

Same goes for Cheryl Pope's pennants in the entryway. I've long loved this project.

And I finally got to see Aram Han Sifientes' Protest Banner Lending Library, a Project I've been following via social media for months. Aram and I met up last month in DC while she was here on a brief fellowship. It's an incredible project, something I keep thinking about given our current political climate and where I currently live. If we give folks the tools, see what they can make with them? This project / space gives voices visibility, and people can actually borrow these banners to use in protest. It is a living, usable, activist archive in the making.

Makers hard at work.

Chicago, you flirty babe.

Before bouncing to return to DC, Mari and I split snacks and happy hour cocktails at Fulton Market Kitchen. I snapped a selfie with one of the Third Man's wall murals.

Then... I lost a bunch of my photos! So here's a garbled version of the last few weeks :)

I'm partial to hanging out in bathrooms with friends now. Don't ask.

This is my pal Sean, in a very strange bathroom at his art opening at Space Camp in Baltimore. 

A very satisfying French meal with Brady in Brooklyn. Ran into Molly Soda too.

I took a very quick trip up to New York (see steaks above) to visit my friends. But also to do a studio visit with the artist Jason Lazarus while he was in residence at the Hunter East Harlem Gallery. He's been running a community-oriented open studio / open gallery program called A CENTURY OF DISSENT!. Since June, there have been open gallery hours where anyone can drop in and comb through his archive of protest signs, all from protests that took place in Harlem or related to Harlem in some way over the course of the last 100 years. After picking a sign that inspires or speaks to them, the visitor is then invited to recreate the sign using materials in the studio, or purchased in a store in the neighborhood. I wanted to recreate a sign that had lines from Langston Hughes "A Dream Deferred" painted onto a windshield reflector, and wound up spending an hour walking 3rd Avenue in Harlem popping into store after store to no avail. I settled on a sign that was written in ink so thick and so wet, that the words bled through and could be read in the inverse. A very conceptual response to the overall image and project. My hours spent in the studio with Jason were some of the best I've had all summer. Between acquainting myself with the businesses in a neighborhood in New York I've never spent much time in, and getting to catch up with Jason while tracing the letters WE'RE NOT OKAY WITH THIS over and over again, I found myself calmed and happy by the entire experience.

The set up.

Other responses.

My sign.

My sign in reverse.

The proud artist / goober. Photo by Jason Lazarus.

My source material. Photo by Jason Lazarus.

Later that night I met up with longtime pals for drinks. We wound up watching music videos until 5 am. Good humans.

Mary of Guadalupe in Harlem, taken for my mother and grandmother.

The ever changing landscape nearby the Megabus pickup.

And then swiftly back to work. This is a mockup for the title wall in the next exhibition that is opening at the Hirshhorn. It's the exhibition that was assigned to me my FIRST week of work, and it is opening a year after (to-the-week) of me starting there. That's my writing on the wall, as is the rest of the writing appearing in the exhibition! So excited to share more when it opens in September.

Taken outside of the Planned Parenthood near Union Market. Support local business y'all. Especially when they're under threat to be closed!

Taken while wandering around Meridian Hill Park with my friend Alex.

Summer dinners are actually my favorite. Been rocking peach salads (Virginia peaches!) with mozzarella, and a French dijon dressing, as well as fancy tomato toast with multigrain bread and ricotta cheese instead of mayo.

I've been painting and writing more in recent days. It feels really good to have a creative output again.

I've been traveling a lot lately. These quiet mornings in my apartment mean the world to me.

Which leads me to today. Andy Warhol's birthday. I spent my morning on a mad hunt for a copy of the New York Times Magazine (dated November 23, 1986). We need a copy of it for an exhibition I'm working on, because inside of this issue is an advertisement in which Andy Warhol appears. It ran six short months before his untimely death. And I have reached a point of near-obsession trying to track this thing down. I think Andy would approve of my dedication, my devotion, the urgency with which I am searching for this piece of him to include in the show. Happy birthday pal, it's the least I could do. (The above photo was snapped at the National Portrait Gallery, the only Warhol we could locate in the building on our visit today).

09 July 2017

My Week(s) In Photos: 6.25.17 // 7.9.17

Between the opening of Ai Weiwei: At Hirshhorn, a much-needed vacation in Coastal Maine, and the sea of catching up on life and house things I seem to be swimming in, I'm a week behind on this little project. Which means... twice the photos AND most of them are beautiful images from Maine. But before I start, a little check-in might be nice.

I'm feeling a touch directionless these days. As in the sweet hot buzz of summer has me unable to finish one of the four books I have started, I'm not taking the time to write in my journal, laundry is piling up, and my suitcase from my trip is sitting open and forlorn on my couch, greeting me each morning in a really guilt-driven way. I had many goals for this year, including writing a collection of short stories and learning ASL. It is July and I have done neither (though I've finished one story, started another, and have a list of the ones I want to write). But, it's been a year. Between the extra hours pulled for our incredible Kusama exhibition, my rapidly budding friendships in DC, attempting to enter the dating pool, and somehow stealing away a few hours of sleep, I've fallen a little behind on my goals. Simply put, I've lost focus. After spending eight hours at a computer and in the galleries, sitting down to write at a computer at home is the furthest thing from my mind. And the self-loathing that comes attached to not writing, not making, not doing - it's all too real. I keep making little goals for myself, but crossing the finish line feels impossible lately. So I'm setting some new goals for myself. Maybe scaling back on the delicious (and dangerous) happy hour margaritas with friends, and dialing in some much-needed alone time while it's still light out. Leaving some chores left undone until I do yoga or go for a run, both things I'd like to do more of but "can't seem to find the time to" (my excuse, always). And this space, running this space again. Because looking back on the last decade of my life, archived beautifully here - it brings me joy.

And now for the photos!

Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn opened on June 26th. We had a staff preview, a discussion between our director and Ai Weiwei. My role in this project was to help pull together the timeline that's at the entrance to the exhibition, and assist in opening day events. I'll also likely be giving tours of the exhibition throughout the run of the show.

From the Jim Demetrion Lecture, with one of Weiwei's iconic Study on Perspective photographs.

Ai Weiwei taking selfies with dinner guests shortly after the lecture.

We took a field trip to NMAAHC to view a video that was in our files, which we didn't have the proper equipment to screen. Turns out it was a looping video of Laurie Anderson's performance piece O Superman. We watched the 8-minute video four times in a row, while I took in how beautiful this office was!

The Yoko Ono My Mommy Is Beautiful installation is rapidly filling with sentiments on motherhood. I've been documenting the wall's growth for the Studio.

Continually enjoying the glow of Nicolas Party's sunrise, sunset when I arrive at work in the mornings.

And then! Mari and I took a vacation to Boston and Coastal Maine for the holiday weekend! This was my first vacation since relocating to DC last August, and much needed at that.

Required reading materials for a trip to Maine.

But this trip didn't happen without doing a little bit of work... I had to make edits to wall text for the Kabakov exhibition I'm supporting. Opens in September.

We put our names in it at Neptune Oyster, and the wait was worth it. 10 oysters and squid ink lobster risotto with two glasses of rosé. Perfect way to kickoff vacation.

Did my best Ice impression from Hocus Pocus while wandering around downtown Boston.

Swung by the wading pool at Boston Common before window shopping and our dinner at Tasting Counter.

The Tasting Counter took care of us with ten courses sandwiched between two welcoming and parting bites. Mostly local, all paired with incredible wines, to the tune of the Postal Service and the Knife. This restaurant is hidden in the back of a brewery in the Sommerville neighborhood in Boston, and was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. I'm still thinking about the seaweed that topped my morel and green pea foam.

This lady and her delicious wines.

Me and my seaweed.

And then we were off to Maine. Stopping for roadside fish n' chips and lobster salad.

We drove a few hours to Rockland to catch the ferry for our night in Vinalhaven. Mari dressed quite appropriately packing a fleece and boat shoes. I didn't plan so well, and we had to stop at the LL Bean Outlet in Freeport so I could grab a jacket. We didn't miss the ferry though! And had enough time to grab beers and nab the last overnight spot at the ferry port.

Geeked out over the Maine Lobster Festival posters having just read David Foster Wallace's Consider the Lobster essay.

We boarded the ferry to Vinalhaven in some of the densest fog I have ever been in. The fog horn blew with regularity a majority of the way to the island, the crisp air was thick with salt. I was in heaven the entire way.

Boats docked in the harbor in Rockland.

Me, freezing and very excited to be on a ferry.

After checking into the our adorable room at the Tidewater Motel, we headed to SALT Restaurant up the block for an exquisite lobster-heavy dinner. This floral arrangement behind Mari was absolutely stunning.

Lobster bisque, charcuterie board, crab cakes, olives, summery cocktails.

The next morning we woke up kind of early and went for a hike up Isle au Haut Mountain. I found a sign with my name on it and insisted Mari take my photo.

This trip was a lesson in wildflowers.

And dream houses on tiny quiet islands.

The sun began to melt away the fog while we hiked, and by the time we were ready to board the ferry back to Rockland, it was bright and warm outside. Also, how cute was our room "The Crow's Nest"?

Obsessed with this 1970s tapestry in our motel room.

The "view" in the fog from our motel room.

Robert Indiana owns an old building in Vinalhaven.

And we managed to find a Guttman favorite, cotton candy ice cream!

Back to Rockland, we slept on the ferry.


Vinalhaven's beauty stunned me. She sparkled like a shiny new penny after the fog melted off. I had no idea what was hidden beneath the thick grey air, this unexpected crisp blue green.

Beautiful hand-painted signage on the ferry.

Surprise! We returned to a flat tire in the parking lot in Rockland. Mari handled it like a champ. And after a three hour hiccup dealing with the tire, we drove down to Deer Isle nestling into the southern tip for a night in the town of Stonington. We had 2 Dope Queens keeping us company the entire drive.

The bridge to Deer Isle.

We stayed at Boyce's Motel and had another lobster-centric meal at Aragosta across the street. I enjoyed a dirty martini and this incredible sunset off of the coast.

Love this woman. Best traveling companion I could ask for.

Fresh Maine lobster, spring veggies, and lobster ravioli.

The following day I wandered around Stonington before boarding the ferry for a solo trip to Isle au Haut for hiking, cool breezes, and solitude. Mari needed to stay back to catch up on work, but I didn't mind it at all. Getting to the island was an adventure.

I'm finding humility in doing things alone that are typically done by couples and families. Eating brunch in solitude, going to the top of the Empire State Building, taking a ferry to an island for a hike. While alone on the ferry to Isle au Haut, I struck up conversation with these folks sitting next to me. Turns out they had seen the Kusama exhibition in DC and were so excited to meet a person who worked on the show. Their daughter is an art history PhD student working on her dissertation in Japan. Oh serendipity, to be so far from home, so far from work, so far from Kusama, and still find myself talking polka dots, mirrors, and museums.

The sky and clouds from the middle of the ocean reminded me of Yoko Ono's Sky TV.

I am an inexperienced hiker, alone, without a map, or cell service. 
I am brave, I am pretending to be Cheryl Strayed. 
I am regretting not printing paper maps or bringing bug spray. 
I needed to do this.

The Isle au Haut branch of the Acadia National Park has a strict no advertising policy. The only way to find out about this place is by word of mouth and scant mentions in travel guides. I found out about this island from my former boss and mentor, Heather. She used to come to this island every year with her girlfriends. In our one-on-one meetings, she would often wax poetic about this place. In my notes, I would have tasks mixed in with mentions of a magical quiet island called "Isla Ho" with it's fifty year-round residents and lack of cars, Internet, and cell service. After Heather's passing in 2014, I made it a goal to find this place. To put myself squarely in the memories of her experiences and see it for myself. Coming to the island alone, with the memory of her in my heart bolstered me. I miss her every day, though she was my guiding light in choosing to go to grad school and in making it to the Smithsonian. Her sense of light and laughter, her ability to work hard and play hard, the activist projects she supported like fundraising for the AIDS Quilt in the 1990s. I will forever admire her.

Lobster roll and blueberry lemonade from the Maine Lobster Lady.

This lunchtime view...

After lunch, I wandered the main road on the island. I stopped to mail a letter for a friend from this teeny tiny post office.

Lobster fishing supplies: cages, rope, colorful buoys.

Sweaty, sunburnt, a little drunk on walking PBRs, alone, covered in bug bites, happy.

Waiting for the return boat home.

Reunited with Mari, we drove to Bar Harbor and quickly changed into dresses for dinner at the Reading Room where we reminisced about Are You Afraid of the Dark and our server Drew was very flirtatious. See all those olives he gave me when I requested "all of the olives"?

My ongoing series of me squatting next to cars painted strange colors.

Fourth of July parade in Bar Harbor. The Shriners on their tiny trucks were my favorite, hands down.


From the lineup at the Bar Harbor annual Fourth of July lobster boil, 
lobster rolls in all their glory.

Pick your poison, mine was lobster and hotdogs.

This was taken after she spilled a lot of our butter trying to take this photo. See that there's butter missing?

Life goal to wear a bib and eat a lobster in Maine achieved.

Good garbage, tho.

Even the port-o-potties in Maine are photogenic.

The following day, we made our way back to Boston to catch our flights home. After making a pitstop at yet another LL Bean Outlet. Mari scored a beautiful Hudson Bay blanket and I nabbed a new hiking backpack for future adventures! Kid's size for my tiny torso. Look at all of her bags! 

And then writing on the flight home...

I'm back in DC now, diving into the week. Endless emails, feeling a touch stressed and behind on my projects. But this gorgeous hand-painted truck has been parked in my neighborhood for days and I'm trying to convince my friend with a truck that he should give it a makeover.

I spent much of yesterday making wind chimes and portraits of the sound of peoples' voices on the Hirshhorn's plaza as part of the DC Sound Scene event. 

And now to my mountain of stinky trip laundry....