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This thinking rabbit was a great sculpture. It's called Thinker on a Rock and is by Barry Flanagan.
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Closest available address
6th and Constitution Avenue NW Washington, DC 20565
Hours vary by season and day of week, generally open 10am-7pm in summer.
30 minutes or less
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
District of Columbia
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is 6 acres and is located on the National Mall. There are 17 sculptures, most are contemporary in style and from the twentieth century. In addition to the art, there is a small café/restaurant with light food as well as a large central fountain which doubles as an ice skating rink in winter.
The National Gallery of Art is one of the largest and most impressive art museums in the United States. It was established and funded by Andrew Mellon, a very generous financier who also served as Secretary of The Treasury from 1921-1932. In addition to paying for the building, Mellon donated his personal art collection to the museum, which opened in 1941. Plans for the garden were initiated in 1966, but it did not open till 1999 – the pace of progress in Washington, DC. The range and style of the sculptures here are diverse, with some more whimsical in nature and some more serious. The sculptures are all identified by name and artist. Interpretive information is available on the museum website but was unavailable at the garden.
The National Gallery of Art building was a tempting choice to visit given its size and quality, but it’s more of an all day affair so the sculpture garden was a better option to see quality art on the go for a guy on the go. The garden was moderately crowded but was spacious enough to afford some privacy. More interesting/impressive sculptures were Spider by Louise Bourgeois, Thinker on a Rock by Barry Flanagan, House by Roy Lichtenstein, and Moondog by Tony Smith. Since the garden is small, it’s easy to check out all the art within 30 minutes. If you have hunger pangs for even more art fare, additional sculptures can be seen inside the National Gallery of Art building as well as across the mall at the Hirshhorn Museum. By the way, these collections are all world class in quality and all are free. A tour would have made the experience even better, and fortunately there are free docent tours Friday-Sunday at 1:30pm in summer and early fall. The constant sounds of city traffic in the background killed some of the joy of the sculpture garden and made it difficult to unwind here on a hot but not scorching summer day. The art was approachable though and should appeal to more than just art elitists. Although the café food was not sampled, the restaurant was crowded so if numbers don’t lie then that it might work for a quick bite.
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