Bear With Me

Crafted in resin, Xavier Veilhan's "The Bear" suggests origami with attitude.

Surprise!

You’re walking down the street, or perhaps riding by on the bus, numbed by the stone gray face of the winter city, when suddenly a burst of tomato red, taller than the average bear, shocks you awake.

The glorious creature lighting up a corner outside the Phillips Collection is another provocative example of the work of French artist Xavier Veilhan, whose intriguing installations have earned acclaim from critics worldwide. His installations at famous locations such as Hatfield and Versailles have dazzled visitors with the unexpected mash-up of past and futuristic concepts.

“The Bear” is part of Veilhan’s first major U.S museum exhibition in the United States, in The Phillips Collection’s ongoing “Intersections” series, which highlights works that offer fresh perspectives on the influence of the past on the present. Veilhan’s work often combines modern technology with classic themes.

One of the perks of living in a major city where an international community supports and appreciates artistic endeavor is the abundance of public art. Many of the museums in D.C. are open to the public year-round free of charge. But even the museums which must depend on private donations and public support give us glimpses of the wonders inside their doors.

Thus we have the red bear seemingly directing traffic on the corner of  21st and Q Streets. He’ll be gone soon, off to startle other viewers after February 10th.

I wish I could keep him in my front yard.

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