The new Glenstone will open its doors a bit wider than the old one, allowing more people to visit through its online reservation system. And those who do will see, finally, the full realization of the Raleses’ ambition to create one of the largest, richest and most ambitious new cultural organizations in the world. But the 230-acre Glenstone compound, with a cafe, an entry pavilion, rotating exhibits, and access to outdoor art installations and trails throughout the site, has been designed around visitor experience rather than maximizing the number of visitors who cross its threshold.
It is self-consciously a museum built in the spirit of the nascent “slow art” movement, which is a reaction to larger forces afoot in the art market, democratic culture and the age of Instagrammable art. Emily Rales anticipates that Glenstone will accommodate about 400 people a day without compromising the contemplative sense of escape from the world that is fundamental to the founders’ vision. By contrast, the Phillips Collection, which operates on a small, landlocked site in the center of Washington, sees a bit more than 500 visitors a day, on average, while the Hirshhorn, which is centrally located, receives about 2,500 visitors a day.
Beginning in the late 19th century, ideas about freedom, equality, health, sexuality and public space came together to create a distinctly European enthusiasm for going unclothed. In Scandinavia the focus was the sauna. In Mediterranean countries it was the beach. In Germany it was everywhere: the country’s Freikörperkultur (“free body culture”, or FKK) encourages stripping off while gardening, playing sports or taking lunch breaks in the park.
Yet Europe’s taste for bare skin is in retreat. Nudist beaches and resorts, topless sunbathing and nude unisex saunas are declining. Football teams report that players are unwilling to remove their underwear to shower after matches. In recent years, commentators across the continent have remarked on a new prudishness.
A pattern was starting. Christopher’s announcements seemed to be a way of building a case for what he wanted to do — organizing the barn or launching the boat — rather than what had to be done, such as scheduling dentist appointments and ordering heating oil.
His messages were strategic and part of a larger campaign. Christopher had spent his career developing identity management strategies for corporations, and he was now applying these skills to our relationship to build a more successful brand for himself.
In early Spring of 2011, Kim Brooks intentionally left her 4-year-old son, Felix, in a car alone while she ran into a neighborhood Target — in the same neighborhood she'd grown up in — to buy a pair of padded headphones.
The decision was made in the split of a second, a quick moment that had long-lasting consequences for Brooks, who realized only hours later that a stranger had videotaped her son, then reported her to the police.
In Small Animals, Brooks attempts to reckon with the consequences of her decision. "It wasn't as though he were asking to smoke a joint or to rollerblade in traffic," she writes. "He just wanted to sit in the car and play his little game for a few minutes. Why did I have to drag him inside?"
Her novels are a gift, for children and adults. She harnessed her wild imagination to her marvelously pragmatic intelligence. The result was books that revel in both the fundamental insanity of fiction and the mysterious sanity that sometimes results from reading it.