View from the Road 16 March 2009

I’ve just posted two new albums of photographs: License Plates and Public Toilets.  You can find them on the Photos page or follow these links.  I’ll update them regularly.

License Plates

Public Toilets

My intention was to maintain Ruscha-like neutrality, but I couldn’t help adding captions which, by their nature, are unavoidably subjective.  And since I’ve just admited that I had Ruscha in mind, then there is no point posturing about objectivity.  I think it is problematic to be both self-conscious and objective.  At the end of the day, I like the Prius-driving Queer Christians for Obama too much to pretend I don’t.

As for the toilets, given the prominence that public restrooms assume during a cross-country road trip, it seemed necessary to document these.  I will resist rating them on a sanitary scale and content myself with other matters.  I’m wondering if certain patterns will emerge with respect to scale, materials, and style.

To date, I can report that the faux historicism of the restrooms in the new U.S. Capitol Visitors Center matches perfectly the faux historicism of the rest of the CVC.   Designed, it seems, by the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, the restrooms are a tepid version of the ones found in the New York Public Library and many other Beaux-Arts institional buildings.  The ventilation may be better in the CVC stalls, but everything else is worse.  Down on the mall, the clean modernism of SOM’s renovation of the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History is found in the restrooms as well: stainless steel, terrazzo, tiles, and silestone for the sink counters and some very nifty benches.

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One Comments
scrane March 16th, 2009

love the license plates, especially the Queer Christians for Obama. Next time you take the skyline drive, let us know!! We’ll meet you there with the dogs…

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