A blog about art, travel, and everything in-between. Museum reviews, travel diaries, lifestyle, and more.

My Visit to the National Gallery of Art, East Building

My Visit to the National Gallery of Art, East Building

I have been to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. a number of times. However, I have only been to the East Building once before. The one time I visited, I only had time to browse the ground level. So, I was very excited to return for a more thorough visit.

This building exhibits modern and contemporary art. It is connected to the West Building—the original building which displays art from as far back as the Middle Ages—by an underground moving walkway. Once you arrive to the building, you are technically already in the galleries, although the building's design and arrangement of displayed art is so modern, one can feel as if they are in a fancy and vast hotel lobby or convention center.

 National Gallery of Art, East Building, ground level

National Gallery of Art, East Building, ground level

Artworks and sculptures from the museum's permanent collections are scattered along the walls and floors of each level and sometimes feel like decorative or architectural interior design pieces as opposed to actual featured pieces of art. It definitely is not the typical "white-box" gallery display. There were a lot of great modern sculptures, and it was actually fun to turn around and see major artists' pieces just casually hanging by a window. 

 Gerhard Richter,  Abstract Painting 780-1

Gerhard Richter, Abstract Painting 780-1

 Jean Dubuffet,  Site à l'homme assis

Jean Dubuffet, Site à l'homme assis

The building is huge, and I didn't get to see it all during my visit. It is is divided into three towers, and each floor of each tower is dedicated to either temporary exhibitions or special arrangements of the National Gallery's collection. There are still galleries within the building that feature a more traditional museum layout. For example, there was one gallery that displayed French painting from late-19th and 20th centuries, and another that exhibited minimalism and conceptual art. There are too many of these curated galleries within the building for me to even name here. There is also a room dedicated to Barnett Newman's and Mark Rothko's paintings, which was a wonderful surprise for me. The museum covers pretty much most of the bases of modern and contemporary art.

 Henri Matisse,  Open Window, Collioure

Henri Matisse, Open Window, Collioure

 Donald Judd,  Untitled

Donald Judd, Untitled

 Sam Gilliam,  Relative

Sam Gilliam, Relative

Had I known how large the building truly was, I would've planned a more concentrated visit rather than try to see everything in one day (it's hard on your brain and your legs to try to see so much art in a few hours). The museum has such an amazing scope of art from almost every major modern and contemporary art movement, so it was definitely a worthwhile visit.

See more art posts here.

Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s

Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s

Exhibition Review: Mark Bradford at the Hirshhorn

Exhibition Review: Mark Bradford at the Hirshhorn