Jury Duty + National Portrait Gallery

May 20, 2010 at 12:56 am | Posted in life, Washington | Leave a comment
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I’ve been lost in a whirlwind of jury duty for the last three days. I was selected as a petit juror on a criminal case. It’s funny though because as much as I thought I wasn’t looking forward to it, I wound up having a really great time and met some interesting people. First, it was kind of nice to have a change of scenery and be out of the office. Also, I had never been on Indiana Avenue where the DC Courthouse is. It’s absolutely beautiful down there. The buildings have grandiose architecture and stately columns. They are the buildings you see in the news or in the movies but have no reason to go by when you are walking around. I was placed on an engaging case that involved drug possession with the intent to sell with a twist… The defense tried to allude that corrupt cops planted the drugs. It was a bit of a mystery which we were able to hash out and confidently make our jury selection.

The trial I sat on just so happened to be on the same days as the infamous murder trial for Robert Wone who was bizarrely killed in 2006 while he stayed over at his friends’ house. The murder happened on Swann Street, which is a block away from where I lived at the time. I often passed by that very house on my way to the Black Cat or Saint Ex. Eck! I have been following the case closely. Unfortunately, every time I was in court, the Wone case was too; so I never had a chance to sit in on any of the testimonies. I did however see the reporters and television cameras staked out in front of the courthouse [above right photo].

Because we got such long lunch breaks, I made my way over to the National Portrait Gallery. For some reason I never had interest in the Gallery and assumed that the work would be boring. The work was far from so. The neat thing about the Portrait Gallery is that you can relate to a lot of the work because you are familiar with the subjects; although definitely not all of them.

Painting by Margaret Bowland – “Portrait of Kenyatta and Brianna”

I came across this painting by painter Margaret Bowland. It’s a portrait of the artist in a wedding dress with her two daughters. Both her and one of her daughters’ face are painted white. I’m not so sure why. Once I took a step backward, I also noticed that there are many of Takashi Murakami’s iconic cutesy figures with batting eyes and vicious teeth. I love Takashi Murakami, always have; but I’m not sure what the meaning is behind that.

The National Portrait Gallery
Painting by William Glackens; photo of Lena Horne by Florence Meyer Homolka
The presidential wing with painting of Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov by Alfred Leslie; Photo banner of President Obama super imposed over the iconic image of Franklin D Roosevelt.
Gorgeous water color of John Glenn by Henry C. Casselli Jr.; photo of John McCullough by Mathew Brady Studio.

You’ll have to excuse the quality of the photos. I only had my iPhone with me. But even still, I thought they were good enough to share. If you find yourself downtown near Chinatown, I highly recommend you make a trip to the Portrait Gallery. You have to see the larger than life-size photo realistic painting of LL Cool J looking regal with a neon green ornate backdrop. It’s at least worth a peak.

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