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Gopnik's Daily Pic: The OAS Sculpture Garden

By Blake Gopnik

The latest feed from my morning musings about art and objects at

(Lucy Hogg / For The Washington Post)

Daily Pic: "Grand Diagonal," a 1990 work by Venezuelan artist Rolando Pena, in one of my new favorite spots: The sculpture garden in front of the Organization of American States, just off the Mall a few blocks west of the White House. Almost no one ever visits the dozen or so works in the garden, and they are in varying states of disrepair. They somehow seem a fitting, elegiac metaphor for the institution itself, with its strong dose of League of Nations optimism -- in equal disrepair these days. Pena's piece has a critical edge: Though it could pass for iconic minimalist sculpture, it is in fact made of oil drums. That edge, however, is somehow rendered wistful by the quietly failed optimism of its setting. It seems as mild-mannered as the vintage abstract works nearby, slowly rusting away.

By Blake Gopnik  | September 29, 2010; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Blake Gopnik, Public Art  | Tags:  Daily Pic  
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