Washington boasts many world-class museums, but some of the most impressive are not necessarily the most visited. The Freer Gallery of Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution, is an Italian Renaissance style building just east of the Smithsonian Institution “castle” on the Washington Mall, and hosts a vast collection of amazing Asian, Near Eastern, and Egyptian art, plus some spectacular American entries. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, attached to the Freer Gallery, is not as obvious; with the exception of the atrium, the entire museum is underground, mostly beneath the garden behind the Smithsonian Castle.
One of the most impressive pieces in either museum is Xu Bing’s “Monkeys Grasp for the Moon,” a complex sculpture that hangs from the skylight at the top of the atrium to a fountain, several stories underground. The sculpture is composed entirely of the word “monkey” written in several different languages, with each word or character shaped to link to the next. There does not seem to be anything else holding the pieces together beyond gravity.
An iPhone 6 Plus was used to take this photo, using the panorama photo mode. Rather than go from side to side, as it was intended, the panorama began at the bottom and panned to the top. Click on the photo for a (much) larger view.