Mark Twain is said to have called it the ugliest building in America, a sentiment later echoed by President Harry S Truman, who thought it the country’s “greatest monstrosity.” Now, to tear down this monstrosity would be unthinkable. Declared a national historic landmark in 1971, the massive block-long Eisenhower Executive Office Building, as it is now called, is widely cherished as a stunningly exuberant relic from a bygone era that could never be replicated. Whatever has been thought of it across the years, the building achieves architecture’s highest calling, impressing its unique identity relentlessly upon all who witness it and demanding a response.
As long as the federal government has been in Washington, cabinet department office buildings have stood on this site and the corresponding space on the other side of the President’s House. George Washington wanted them here, and under his direction, architect George Hadfield (1763-1826), designed the first two distinguished, federal-style buildings, which were ready for early bureaucrats to occupy when the government moved to Washington in 1800. After the British burned the buildings in 1814, they were reconstructed, and two more matching buildings were added, one on either side, to form a neat and symmetrical Executive Branch campus surrounding the President’s House. On the east side, along 15th Street, stood the State Department to the north and the Treasury Department to the south. To the west, along 17th Street, were the Navy and War Departments. (more…)
“The larger-than-life sculptures by internationally renowned artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (b. 1930) will be on view beginning September 27 as part of the New York Avenue Sculpture Project, the only public art space featuring changing installations of contemporary works by women artists in Washington, D.C. Organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), the New York Avenue Sculpture Project is a collaboration between the museum, the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID), the DC Office of Planning and other local agencies. The Sculpture Project illustrates the museum’s long-term commitment to the artistic beautification of New York Avenue, fostering a vibrant new identity for the neighborhood just east of the White House. Located in the median of New York Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, NW, the installation will be on view from Sept. 27, 2014 through Sept. 27, 2015.
The Sculpture Project will include a range of figurative works by Polish artist Abakanowicz. Her monumentally-scaled sculptures of grouped human figures and birds in flight exemplify issues universal to humankind: the power of nature, the force of destruction and the resiliency of hope. Abakanowicz’s art is often inspired by her experiences and observations during World War II and its repressive postwar climate.
“This installation will honor one of the greatest monumental sculptors of our time. Her works’ placement within the capital city of our republic will be compelling,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “Abakanowicz’s sculptures of figures atop wheel axles relate to her childhood memory of traveling with coins sewn into her clothing while escaping advancing military troops. When viewed in the context of New York Avenue, with drivers and pedestrians moving by, these sculptures will allude more generally to human journeys, both actual and metaphysical.”
Lots more photos and closeups after the jump. (more…)
Thanks to a reader for sending word and that photo above on Friday that Native Foods Cafe has already (soft) opened at 18th and M St, NW. On their website the official opening is listed as Sept. 30th. You can see their Menus here.
First Ramen and now “prime cuts of local game, farm-raised poultry, beef and fresh fish” coming to the 1800 block of M Street.
From a press release:
“Restaurateur Reese Gardner is pleased to announce the opening of Second State, which will replace the former Mighty Pint at 1831 M Street, NW. Second State is slated to open in early October. Gardner is the founder/owner of Wooden Nickel Bar Company based in Arlington, Virginia, which owns and operates the popular Irish Whiskey Public House in Washington, DC, and neighborhood hot spot Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington Village. Gardner, a Pennsylvania native, wanted to honor his state’s history and decided to name his latest restaurant Second State as Pennsylvania was the second state to ratify the Constitution on December 12, 1787.
Gardner’s goal for Second State is to create an intimate neighborhood restaurant with casual fine dining. The menu is being created by Corporate Executive Chef Allan Javery and will feature seasonal American small bites along with featured prime cuts of local game, farm-raised poultry, beef and fresh fish to accompany the hearty, family-style sides. Every ingredient will be sourced from local farmers within a three-hour drive from DC, with an emphasis on farms in Pennsylvania. (more…)
“A public memorial service for the Corcoran Gallery of Art will be held on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. at 500 17th Street, NW Washington, D.C.
Following a procession from the Corcoran, the service will continue at Oak Hill Cemetery 3001 R Street, NW, Washington, D.C. at 3:30 p.m. at the site of William Wilson Corcoran’s mausoleum. (Please note: there is street parking only and carpooling is encouraged.)
The location and time of a reception where friends in the community are encouraged to share remembrances and farewell comments will be announced in the memorial service program that day. A guest book will be available at all sites.
Small, personal Corcoran-related tributes will be collected throughout the service for cremation after the memorial. Those bringing tributes are requested to provide a self-addressed stamped envelope. The ashes will be mailed at a later date. An In Memory of the Corcoran Gallery of Art Facebook page has been created for posting Corcoran memories.
Attire: Guests are encouraged to wear black or dress in period clothing of the Victorian era as a tribute to William Wilson Corcoran: black arm bands, men in mourning coats, women in dark veils with black umbrellas. (more…)
This weekend is just ridiculously packed with good stuff – here’s one more. From Fiesta DC:
“Fiesta DC Latino Festival has been held each year in Washington DC for forty-three years. It is an annual celebration of Latino culture that features a Parade of Nations that displays and preserves the Native Latino cultural dance troupes as well as contemporary local groups from civic organizations, schools, and performers. The Parade of nations will take place on Constitution Avenue Through partnerships established with the festival’s sponsors, Fiesta DC 2014 will host a variety of entities that will provide educational and community information to the event attendees.
Fiesta DC 2014 Parade will take place on Sunday, September 21, 2014, from 10:00am to 1:00pm. Parade will start at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW , and will travel east to 14th Street NW.”