Postmark Here

Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

20560, Washington

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Beanbag people outside the Hirshhorn Museum

Dear ——–,

I had never seen so many warning labels in an art museum before I spent the morning at the Hirshhorn. In the “Colorforms” exhibit, one piece cautioned about the low light levels and another pointed out the bright and rapidly flashing lights. A third advised, “Some individuals may be sensitive to the hazelnut pollen in this work.” I know contemporary art is supposed to assault you, but I thought it was all intellectual! I was not impressed by the Yves Klein exhibit. I felt weird watching a movie that showed the artist leading nude women out to a space where they rolled around in paint and pressed their bodies against canvases. The artist and audience were fully clothed. Maybe this was iconoclastic in the early 1960s, but to me it seemed a stale, almost exploitative re-enactment of old male fantasies. I did particularly like a time-lapse film by Guido van der Werve, which showed a man functioning as a kind of sundial as the summer sun moved around the north pole. Klein may have invented his own shade of blue, but the shifting blues of the never-dark sky were far more evocative.

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

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