Take a walk through the historic streets, alleys, and courtyards of Washington, D.C., stopping to take in the art, snap photos and learn about the artists and what messages and meanings may be behind their…
Sundays at 2 p.m.
Meets inside Modern Art Building at the benches next to the Information desk
- Adult & Senior
Tour the City’s Modern Masterpieces
History builds the foundations of the present and future. It is the duty of every human alive today to commemorate and remember the events of yesterday, passing them onto future generations. Unfortunately, many museums are notorious for overwhelming visitors with dull tours and exhibits, and that’s why Street Art Museum Tours Adventures for Creative Tourists exists!
We are passionate about putting the “-story” in “history,” with fun and lively expeditions that keep you entertained for hours. The Modern Art Tour is one of our favorites, headed by our passionate guide, Stephen Mead. Let Stephen escort you through the corridors of time in an awe-inspiring two-hour private tour. Explore the exciting world of modern art at the National Gallery of Art’s Modern Art Building in Washington, a place where every nook and cranny is decorated with the humble beginnings of modern art. Delve into the eclectic minds of Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keefe, and beyond, each a historically cherished art hero who earned a well-deserved spot in DC’s National Gallery of Art.
Picasso: Best known for pieces like Guernica in 1937 and The Weeping Woman in the same year, Pablo Picasso was undoubtedly one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. His style certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the consensus is absolute – Picasso defined a huge portion of the modern art world as we know it today. His experimental styles embody the likes of Cubism, Surrealism, Modernism, and his own “Blue Period,” each pioneering Modern Art of the past and present. Picasso is well-known to have painted objects as he “thinks” them, as opposed to how he sees them, representing his unique view of the world in his life of virtual modernism progression. Pablo Picasso was particularly intrigued by the various ways of depicting the human face as a serious of flat planes.
Jackson Pollock: Beautiful chaos, utter abstraction, and brilliant color; Jackson Pollock was one of the most prominent players of the abstract expressionism movement in the 1940s. He famously developed the “drip” technique where he laid canvases on the floor and would let paint fall and fling onto their surface as he moved through his studio.
Pollock’s work was exciting; it embodied movement, rhythm, and energy. The flicks and flings of color dance across the surface and burst off the canvas frames. His techniques and approach revolutionized the act of painting, and, to this day, his canvases bring viewers the same rush of joy that they did in their unique cultural moment. Many of these works live in the Modern Art building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Andy Warhol: built an entire culture, brick by brick. It is a culture that still lives and breathes today in museums across the world as well as in the imagery of mainstream commerce and culture. Warhol began his art career in advertising and later used that experience to create the Pop Art movement, where he incorporated well-known icons and symbols from commercial goods of the 1950s and 1960s. Warhol fundamentally changed the way art was made; he dubbed his studio “The Factory” and hired other artists to make his paintings and screenprints in large quantities. Through the use of such commercialized, mainstream imagery Warhol’s work revealed complex ideas about American culture, society, and values that continue to resonate today. His work can be viewed, contemplated, and loved in the Modern Art building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Georgia O’Keefe: Widely regarded as one of the State’s most successful and influential artists, Georgia O’Keefe was known for her remarkable portrayals of flowers and New York skyscrapers. O’Keefe made a significant contribution to the modern art of the 20th century and beyond, what with her revolutionary style and concepts. O’Keefe used art to express her ideas and feelings, resulting in curiously abstract work and symbols of American modernity. She lived a long life, passing at the age of 98 – leaving in her wake an eclectic collection of close to 150 paintings and hundreds of pencil and charcoal drawings. She also experimented with watercolors and pastels.
Tour Guide | Stephen Mead
Stephen Mead is more than a tour guide. He’s a passionate sacred art enthusiast, storyteller, and history buff, with a broad knowledge of the antiquities of art. Stephen lived in London for many years and was invited to lead exhibition tours at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. He also started talking for the National Arts Collection Fund and worked for numerous educational institutions across Britain. Stephen later relocated to the D.C area and has been part of our family for 6+ years. Stephen is a famous face around these parts, ushering countless tour groups young and old through the boughs of history. Stephen’s unique storytelling style captures the minds and hearts of everyone who joins him on a journey through time, exploring the beauty of Modern Art throughout the centuries.
About the Museum
The National Gallery of Art DC first opened its doors in 1927, giving the public a place to
commemorate Western European artwork from centuries ago through to modern times. The collection’s roots date back to some of the most prominent names in Western art, including Raphael, Rembrandt, El Greco, and Johannes Vermeer. It is artists like these who maintain impeccably high art standards, inspiring many of the art we see emerging today. The gallery takes visitors on an enthralling journey through history’s most inspiring passageways, keeping some of the most overlooked or commonly forgotten pieces of art alive. Explore an electrifying “collection of collections,” defined by the personal tastes of donors.
Join us on the last Sunday of every month for an eye-opening tour through the history of art. Happy to show yourself around? The National Gallery of Art is open for entertainment and education ALL year-round (apart from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). EVERYONE is welcome on our side of history, Monday to Friday 10 am-5 pm and Sunday 11 am-6 pm. You can find The National Gallery of Art DC between 3rd and 9th streets, on the National Mall. The gallery is free for ALL to enter, but we encourage visitors to take public transport. Finding parking around these parts is challenging, so we recommend traveling via the Metro. The Modern Art Tour occurs in the East Building at 150 4th Street NW.
This tour is a private program, neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the National Gallery of Art. Admission to the National Gallery of Art and to all its exhibitions, tours and other public educational programs is free of charge. Any charge or request for contribution is unrelated to the National Gallery of Art. For information about the Gallery please see: http://www.nga.gov.