No one can keep up with everything, so let us do it for you. We’ll gather the top Smithsonian stories from across the country and around the world each week so you’ll never be at a loss for conversation around the water cooler.
Thanksgiving reminded us to be grateful for delicious food and the kindness of strangers. And while the Post’s art critic may have been lukewarm, there were plenty of other hot topics this week.
The Washington Post, Nov. 28
When one despairs of the present, neither the past nor the future offers much consolation. The former is full of warnings unheeded, and precedents too terrifying to contemplate; and the latter inspires yet more anxiety, whether it will come at all, whether anyone will be around to learn the lessons of this fleeting thing we call “now.” An exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum takes up the theme of past and future in the work of Isamu Noguchi, the great Japanese American sculptor whose influence on American art (and especially landscape design) is subtle but pervasive and incalculable. Read more from Philip Kennicott for the Washington Post.
The New York Times, Nov. 25
It took 12 years for the nation’s pre-eminent Native American restaurant to hire its first Native American executive chef. Yet the chef, Freddie Bitsoie, is feeling a more particular pressure.
“I stress a lot about my salmon,” he said with a grin. “I think about it even when I’m at home. I think about my work about 23 hours a day, even while I’m sleeping.” Read more from Noah Weiland for The New York Times.
The New York Times, Nov. 28
Chefs talk about pressure all the time: brutal shifts when the wait for a table is an hour long, an important critic is in the restaurant and your best sous-chef just sliced her finger to the bone.
But they don’t know pressure like the cooks here at the Sweet Home Café inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Read more from Kim Severson for The New York Times.
NPR: All Things Considered, Nov. 29
Remember a couple of years ago, when it seemed like we were all one big happy family, Americans of every age and political stripe, joined in common pursuit? Millions of us spent that summer pouring buckets of ice water on our heads, to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Philanthropy has always played a big role in the United States, helping to shape who we are, what we do and how. Now it’s the subject of a new exhibit called “Giving in America” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Read more from Pam Fessler for NPR’s All Things Considered.
Third legislative attempt could pave the way for new Smithsonian institution, but new administration adds extra challenge
The Art Newspaper, Nov. 29
Efforts to establish a branch of the Smithsonian dedicated to Latino culture are gaining momentum after the successful debut of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC. Bipartisan legislation was reintroduced in September to create a permanent home for the National Museum of the American Latino in the US capital. Read more from Charmaine Picard for The Art Newspaper.
NPR, Nov. 30
Millions of years ago, a little beetle lived among beeches and buttercups on a sparely vegetated tundra at the head of a fjord in Antarctica.
The beetle was small — less than a centimeter long — and it was brown with the typical six legs and two antennae attached to a body protected by a hard shell.
The authors of a new paper announcing its discovery, published in the journal ZooKeys, named it Antarctotrechus balli, or A. balli for short. The first part is a combination of the place the specimens were found, and the formal name for its modern relatives. The second part, balli, is for the beetle scientist George Ball, “in celebration of his 90th birthday,” the paper says. Read more from Rebecca Hershier for NPR’s “The Two-Way.”
If you’re concerned about the state of arts funding and support under the new incoming administration, then we have some suggestions of what you can do.
Hyperallergic, Nov. 30
If you’re freaked out about how the incoming Trump administration might affect arts and culture — and everything else — in the coming years, you’re in good company. Not a single well-known visual artist endorsed Donald Trump for president during his campaign, and in the two weeks since he was elected, the art world has overwhelmingly responded with shock and grief. The question, now, is where to go from here. Read more from Carey Dunne for Hyperallergic.
The Washington Post, Dec. 2
The tattered Pearl Harbor survivor looks every bit of 78, with weathered skin, rusty bones and the faded “U.S. Navy” emblem the old bird got before the war.
Gray from age and years in the service, the veteran of Dec. 7 sits with other World War II antiques, weary and in need of attention.
But with the 75th anniversary of the 1941 attack this week, and commemorations scheduled in Hawaii and around the country, this survivor, like most who were there that day, has a story. Read more from Michael Ruane for The Washington Post.
Every President and First Lady leave their imprint on our city, in the form of businesses they anointed, say, or people they empowered. The Obamas are no different. Here’s our look at how they shaped the cultural geography of Washington over the last eight years.
On January 20, while Donald Trump is being sworn in a few blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue, movers will finish carting the Obamas’ possessions out of the White House. The family won’t be going far: The Kalorama Tudor where Barack Obama will begin his retirement is only two miles away. In sticking around while his younger daughter finishes high school, he’ll be the first chief executive in 96 years to remain in the capital. Read more from Elaina Plott for Washingtonian.
Posted: 6 December 2016