I saw this story on Sunday night while looking for some other information on the Washington Post's excellent website, http://www.washingtonpost.com/
I repeat, this is a great idea!
As someone who spent hundreds and hundreds of hours at the National Gallery of Art over the 13 years I lived in the Washington area, there is absolutely nothing to fault in this idea from Central Florida congressman John Mica, whom I usually mention here on the blog in relation to transportation-oriented stories, as he has been both the Ranking Minority member and the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.http://transportation.house.gov/
More personal thoughts of mine on the NGA are below the article.
The Washington Post
Congressman Mica’s quest pits FTC against National Gallery
By Ned Martel
Published: June 19, 2011
Rep. John L. Mica has what he calls a “weakness,” an obsession with art. He has fulfilled it as any aspiring connoisseur might. He scours odd shops and auction sites for objects treasured only by dust mites but still accruing worth with each passing year. He makes frequent trips to the National Gallery to research what he has bought and what he could buy. One day, while at the museum, he looked across the street and saw something old and undervalued: the Apex building, home to the Federal Trade Commission.
Read the rest of the story at:
Back on May 1st, 2005, I wrote an email to a friend whose very popular non-fiction book was to be the basis for a then-forthcoming film, and this excerpt about the NGA seems a propos:
Hey movie star!Found these two Enron movie related postings on pullquote.typepad.com, which, to my way of thinking, is one of the best written film blog/culture sites around, due to its smart and knowing sensibility and encyclopedic film knowledge.It's smart not snarky, and since any site that -in one month- acknowledges the talent of the wonderful Jena Malone, blisters NYT film critics for both their fashion and literary faux pas, and intelligently discusses Italian docs, is MY kind of site.A number of summers ago, maybe '96, the National Gallery of Art ran what amounts to a summer-long film course on Italian Masterpieces, and I must've spent just about every Saturday and Sunday afternoon there that summer, except for a few when I had tickets to Oriole games up at Camden Yards.The NGA, while focused on art and sculpture, has a really great, though smallish film theatre, equipped with excellent sight lines, terrific speakers and a great A/C.One that made me forget that it was about 96 very humid and miserable degrees outside most of those days.Seeing practically every great Italian film ever made in just a few weeks, sometimes double-features, often on brand-new prints, was a great experience for me.I gradually became a regular at their film series on weekends when they focused for 5-6 weekends in a row on French and other international hits as well as classic Westerns -American, Japanese & spaghetti- it was like cowboy heaven.But finding parking in Georgetown quickly bursts any illusions that you're living la dolce vita.The famous scene of John Wayne standing in the middle of the door jamb in John Ford's The Searchers never looked like that on my TV screen.Over the years, I've had the proverbial subscriptions to Premiere, Movieline, Film Comment, BFI, et al, and I used to read them the night before heading over to The Mall.Those afternoons of great double-features on good film prints in comfortable chairs and a great A/C, while it was sweltering like crazy outside, are some of my best memories of DC.Then, either going solo or with some friends in tow whose horizons I had just tried to expand, I'd head over to Georgetown or Washington Harbour for cool drinks and some quality people-watching.After a French film, maybe head over to Au Pied du Cochon for some wine and great bread, and pretend there were actually a lot more people like me than there really were.Because the NGA theatre was, relatively speaking, towards the small size, I always liked to be there early and grab a seat in the first few rows, towards the middle if possible, so I could see and hear everything without too much distraction.The few minutes before the film started always struck me as something straight out of a New Yorker cartoon or Will & Grace, before I finally stopped watching it.Or, where Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David would overhear something they'd incorporate into a classic episode of Seinfeld about human behavior.With few exceptions, I'd be surrounded by people straight out of Central Casting's bohemian/SoHo/culture vulture dept., complete with their all black ensemble or tweeds -and not just in the fall- berets and oversized egos.Like a quarterback working the ball downfield in a two-minute drill, they'd wax philosophical in a short period of time about things they appeared to have memorized from some highbrow magazine they'd recently read.It recalled nothing so much as the Marshall McLuhan scene from Woody Allen's Annie Hallm below.