Museum Mondays

Museum Monday’s: A New Look At George Washington

It being President’s Day, I wanted to share with you all this incredible, new portrait of George Washington. Honestly, how can you reinvent an art as old as portraiture and a president who served more than 243 years ago? Somehow, artist Doug Powell has done just that. Take a look at what I discovered at American University’s Katzen Arts Center this year:

George Washington modern portrait

No, it’s not made of ceramic tiles or stones. Instead, it’s something I bet you touch nearly every day. Take a closer look:

George Washington eyes

And closer yet:

Art made from computer keys mosaic

It’s made entirely of keys from old computer keyboards! 

Here is what the Guarisco Gallery, who sells his art, wrote about him:

The innovative artist Doug Powell creates the illusion of three-dimensional form through the use and arrangement of recycled, or up cycled, computer keyboard keys. Up cycling has a positive environmental impact due to the rescue and re-purposing of manufactured objects. The reuse of materials has been employed by artists throughout history from Amish quilters and American folk artists to Modern Masters, such as Picasso, Joseph Cornell, and Robert Rauschenberg, all of whom have reused materials or found objects to create new, more complex works of art.

Powell even includes word search quotes from his subjects into his works and this one has several. In person, the sense of depth in the features is astounding considering the relatively uniform surface of the portrait.

Here is what is looks like from the side:

Artist tricks in depth perception

As much as I loved this enormous portrait (71″ x 62″) of one of my favorite presidents, the price was a bit out of reach at $22,500. However, if you can afford the price, I suggest you run to the Guarisco Gallery in DC and snap it up. One day this portrait will fetch prices only museums and billionaires can afford. I really mean that, too. As kitchy as computer keyboard art might seem, this piece was an absolute showstopper at the Washington Winter Show and caused more than a few traffic jams during the show weekend. It’s a masterpiece.

Here is a video about Powell and his work:

For those of you on regular budgets I suggest another favorite representation of dear old George on view on the street just outside the gates of George Washington University:

Statue of George Washington at George Washington University D.C.

photo (c) 2019 Diana Belchase

No matter how you slice it, the father of our country was one heck of a literal figurehead, not to mention, a gentleman we all need to remember in gratitude. No matter his faults, his determination to beat the British, and to lead our fledgling nation, has lead to a land of promise for all who come.

Thank you, George!

All photos (c) 2019 Diana Belchase

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