See D.C. Danish-Style

Above: Copenhagen’s Nyhavn, thriving cyclist community, and fresh food markets. Below: D.C.’s got it all! Especially in the Phillips’s Dupont Circle neighborhood where FRESHFARM Market, green space, and cycling are big.

Ever since you heard about cycling superhighways, food foragers, and the new Nordic cuisine, you’ve been scheming a move to Copenhagen, but don’t give up on D.C. just yet. In honor of Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture, we invite you to embrace the Danish lifestyle right here in D.C. Check out this map complete with bike routes, and download the itinerary to carry along.

  • Start with a pilgrimage to Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture, and discover the acclaimed artist’s sensuous paintings and striking bronzes. Tweet a photo of your bike in front of @PhillipsMuseum for $2-off admission, or show your Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) membership card for 2-for-1 tickets. Enter to win a trip to Copenhagen in the lobby (courtesy of VisitDenmark, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), and the Arp-Hansen Hotel Group), and step into the museum shop to admire Danish designer Arne Jacobsen’s iconic tea service and a beautiful handcrafted bamboo bicycle by ThreePenny Bikes, WABA’s 2012 “BikeBuilder of the Year.” Pick up a Washington, D.C., bicycle map in the admissions lobby to chart safe routes as you see the city Danish-style.
  • Tune-up at neighborhood shop The Bike Rack before you set out about town.
  • No bike of your own? No problem. It’s especially Danish to borrow one (Copenhagen launched the world’s first large-scale urban bike-sharing scheme in 1995). Visit one of 190 Capital Bikeshare stations in D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria, and park at one of two Dupont Circle area docking stations while you’re at the Phillips.
  • See D.C.’s downtown museums and sites with help from Bike and Roll, a bicycle tour and rental company. Mention PHILLIPS when booking through Dec. 9, 2012, for 50%-off your rental. UPDATE: booking deadline has been corrected. Bike and Roll closes for the winter Dec. 10, 2012, and reopens March 10, 2013.
  • Visit FRESHFARM Market in Dupont Circle on Sunday mornings, and pick up fresh and local treats to inspire your own take on new and traditional Nordic cuisine like smørrebrød, the famous open-faced sandwich on dark rye. Save the date for December 2 when your Kirkeby exhibition ticket stub is good for a $5 market coupon.
  • Ride through Montrose Park and Dumbarton Oaks Gardens to the Embassy of Denmark for an awe-inspiring look at D.C.’s first modern embassy designed by acclaimed Danish architect Vilhelm Lauritzen.
  • Furniture from Scandinavia by Annette Rachlin is D.C.’s destination for classic Danish furniture, a modernist oasis in the heart of old Georgetown. Take a seat in Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chair or snuggle up in Finn Juhl’s Pelican. Browse through literature on the best of Danish modernism, while you take a midday break on a Kjaerholm daybed or Hans J. Wegner’s “The Chair” made famous by JFK.
  • Folger Shakespeare Library‘s current exhibition of photographs by Rosamond Purcell, Very Like a Whale (through Jan. 6, 2013), draws its name from Shakespeare’s Danish tragedy. Find three images that respond to Hamlet, then visit the Elizabethan Garden to discover how sculptor Greg Wyatt imagined the play. As you exit, look up at the building’s façade and John Gregory’s 1932 Hamlet bas relief.
  • Round out your day with Scandinavian comfort food (and refreshing aquavit) at Petworth’s Domku Bar and Café.
  • Coming in February, Nordic Cool 2013 at the Kennedy Center is an international festival of theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, and film that highlights the diverse cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the territories of Greenland and the Faroe and Åland Islands. Tickets go on sale October 24, 2012. Preview what’s in store at Phillips after 5: Arctic Expedition on January 3, 2013.


View See D.C. Danish Style! in a larger map

Two-Wheeled Wonder

This beautiful, locally crafted bamboo bicycle appeared in the museum shop today just two days before the opening of our fall exhibition of work by Denmark’s most acclaimed living artist–Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture. Could this new arrival be a harbinger of a Danish-inspired season of cycling at the Phillips?

Picture of a bicycle made out of bamboo

Bamboo bicycle by Threepenny Bikes, on display in the museum shop. Right: detail of the crankset. Photo: Amy Wike

A Geologist Painter Goes to Brussels

A retrospective of Danish artist Per Kirkeby’s extensive body of work opened in February at the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels at the heart of its Let’s Dansk! program to mark the Danish EU Presidency.

Over 40 tireless years, Kirkeby has produced a huge body of work. He has mastered expression in painting, sculpture, film, poetry, and other media. With training in both art and arctic geology, thorough knowledge of art history, and familiarity with the philosophy of another renowned Dane–Søren Kirkegaard–Kirkeby is a rare polymath.His artistic range seems only natural given his expertise across disciplines, and his sense of continuity between art, science, and philosophy is embodied in paintings like Inferno V (1992) in The Phillips Collection.

The  retrospective in Brussels features more than 180 of Kirkeby’s works–including early Masonite “blackboards,” paintings, architectural models, sculpture, watercolor, and illustration–capturing the shifts and changes in his work as well as pervading thematic links. Kirkeby’s art is complemented by the “forbidden paintings” of Kurt Schwitters–realistic landscapes revealing a range beyond the artist’s typical dadaist style.

The exhibition touches on Kirkeby’s dialogue with art and nature: important and inevitable shifts and changes in material, sensitivity and responsiveness to the surrounding world, and continuity through time. Every shift draws from the past and fuels the future. Retrospective Per Kirkeby and the “Forbidden Paintings” of Kurt Schwitters is on view at BOZAR in Brussels through May 20, 2012. And that’s not all–another Kirkeby exhibit is on view in Germany through May 28 at Museum Küppersmühle für Moderne Kunst, and the Phillips looks forward to bringing his work to D.C. audiences this fall with Per Kirkeby: Paintings and Sculpture, 1964–2010 (Oct. 6, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013).