I wasn't smitten with the National Portrait/American Art Gallery myself, but I think my problem was mostly with the content, not the building (which is too dark but otherwise OK). I mean, how could you have an American portrait gallery with lots of photos but no Arnold Newmans? I mean, hello, there are a lot of photos utilizing the "organic portrait" concept. This type of portrait was in large part pioneered by Newman, yet the featured organic portraitist was born in 1946, some years after the mature Newman was already taking organic portraits, so the work being displayed was, to be charitable, derivative.When I see stuff like this I always wonder if the donor of the displayed works wasn't in fact seeking to maximize his tax write offs by enhancing the provinence of his donations via their display in a major venue. Given the govenrment we currently have, this wouldn't surprise me.Be sure to see the Paul Klee exhibit at te Phillips. It's great, and the related small exhibit of children's art is mind blowing.
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