Fall Arts Preview: Visual Arts

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Sargent and Spain

National Art Gallery

October 2, 2022 – January 2, 2023

‘Spanish Roma Dwelling’, 1912. John Singer Sargent. Addison Gallery of American Art. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

John Singer Sargent’s decades-long captivation with Spain produced a remarkable body of work. During seven extended visits between 1879 and 1912, he depicted stunning landscapes, detailed architectural studies, local people and traditions, dynamic scenes of flamenco dancing, and everyday moments of Spanish Roma life. He also copied paintings (particularly by Velázquez) in museums and was intrigued by art in churches, which influenced his extensive murals for the Boston Public Library. “Sargent and Spain” examines, for the first time, how Sargent engaged artistically with the diversity of people and places in this country. Featuring some 140 previously unseen oils, watercolors, drawings and photographs – including several taken almost certainly by Sargent himself – the exhibition will be a rich encounter with, arguably, the most virtuoso painter in American history.

Jacob Lawrence and the Children of Hiroshima

The Phillips Collection

Until November 27

“Hiroshima: Boy with Kite”, 1983. Jacob Lawrence. Courtesy of The Phillips Collection.

This exhibition offers insight into the lived experience of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 through two unique works: a series of serigraphs by Jacob Lawrence and drawings by students from Honkawa Elementary School in Hiroshima. In 1983 Lawrence illustrated John Hersey’s “Hiroshima”, a vivid account of six atomic bomb survivors. His haunting illustrations depict figures with uniform skull-like heads, dressed in dissonant shades of pink, red, yellow and blue. Thirty-five years earlier, in 1947, the children of Honkowa had sent a portfolio of drawings to the children of All Souls Church, Unitarian, in Washington, D.C., to thank them for the supplies they had sent as part of their ministry. Peace. The vibrant scenes of Honkowa children’s daily lives are an extraordinary testament to their resilience in the aftermath of the bombing, which killed more than 400 students at their school alone. “Jacob Lawrence and the Children of Hiroshima” reveals the human side of war, the strength of spirit and the possibilities of peace and reconciliation.

feather ink

National Museum of Asian Art

Until January 29, 2023

“Auspicious Symbols: Crane, Rising Sun and Peach” (detail), c. 1850. Okamoto Shuki. Courtesy of the National Museum of Asian Art.

In Japan, paintings of birds and flowers emerged from the 8th to 12th centuries as a popular motif to represent the seasons and portray the majesty of the natural world. Opulent arrangements of bird species, vegetation and landscapes also offered Japanese artists – with their deep ink and brush traditions – perfect opportunities to showcase their virtuoso brushwork and techniques. Featuring hanging scroll paintings, folding screens, ceramics and printed books, this exhibition explores how Japanese artists have experimented over centuries with depictions of birds and their surroundings. The colors and outlines of feathers, plumage, flowers and foliage intertwine throughout the show in a kaleidoscope of natural wonder.

A life: Maya Lin

National Portrait Gallery

September 30, 2022 – April 16, 2023

Maya Lin working on Civil Rights Memorial, 1989. Photo by Adam Stoltman. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

‘One Life: Maya Lin’ is the first biographical exhibition of the architect, sculptor and conservationist who rose to global prominence at the age of 21 with his controversial design at the time of the Memorial of Ancients Vietnam fighters in 1982. Lin, who has spent more than four decades doing work centered on history and human rights, describes his practice as “a systematic ordering of the land that is tied to history , time and language”. The exhibition traces Lin’s life from her childhood to the present through a range of photographs, sculptures, personal ephemera, sketchbooks, architectural models and images of her completed works. An element of Lin’s project “What Is Missing?” – which invites viewers to share memories of natural elements that have disappeared in their lifetime – will also be on view.

John AkomfrahPurple

Hirschhorn Museum

October 28, 2022 – summer 2023

Image taken from “Purple”, 2017. John Akomfrah. Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum.

An enveloping hour-long symphony of sights and sounds, “Purple” – a major video work by London-based artist John Akomfrah – weaves an original film with archival footage against a hypnotic score, surveying a variety of landscapes in endangered, including parts of Alaska, Greenland, the Tahitian Peninsula and the volcanic Marquesas Islands of the South Pacific. The striking images of Akomfrah intertwine with historic recordings of coal mines, polluted lakes and factory workers, on a resonant soundtrack of original music, archival recordings and spoken word . The video will be shown on six large screens arranged in an arc, reflecting the curved architecture of the Hirshhorn. A deep purple carpet – the color of mourning in Ghana, Akomfrah’s home country – will cover the floors and walls, reminding viewers of the losses caused by environmental devastation. In Akomfrah’s words: “I think the Hirshhorn’s proximity to our planet’s primary center of power – the spaces in which key decisions must be made in environmental policy in the United States – and I hope that the questions that The “purple” questions about the environmental crisis we are going through today are those that can be understood and appreciated by all without partisanship.”

More clay: the power of repetition

American University Museum at the Katzen Center

Until December 11

“Orange Ring”, 2022. Finneran Bean. Photo by RR Jones. Courtesy of AU Museum.

Curated by Rebecca Cross of Cross MacKenzie Gallery – a longtime fixture of the Georgetown community – “More Clay” features eight artists constructing powerful ceramic sculptures using innovative construction feats, transcending the structural limitations of clay and abandoning the traditional association of material with function. The exhibition features a handful of artists represented by Cross in his Wisconsin Avenue and Cady’s Alley galleries, such as Walter McConnell and Bean Finneran.

Notre-Dame de Paris: the expanded exhibition

National Building Museum

Until October 9

Projection of the rosette of “Notre-Dame de Paris: the increased exhibition”. Courtesy of the National Building Museum.

To see before it disappears! Visually stunning, “Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition” is an augmented reality immersion into the history and restoration of the revered cathedral. Visitors can relive the cathedral’s extraordinary saga, from its medieval construction through key historical events – such as the coronation of Napoleon and the marriage of Henri IV – to the ongoing reconstruction after the fire of 2019. The exhibition features never-before-seen giant photographs of the cathedral, 3D models of a cathedral gargoyle and statue, a faux tiled floor and stained glass windows replicating the cathedral’s decor, including a projection of the rose window which miraculously survived the fire, as well as audio from the organs and bells of Notre-Dame.

Also noteworthy and currently showing…

Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Until January 8, 2023

Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience

National Geographic Museum

Until February 6, 2023

Fall openings and reopenings…

The Peacock Room, a London dining room designed and decorated by James McNeill Whistler, reopened at the National Museum of Asian Art on September 3 after a major conservation project. The new ceramics exhibit suggests what the room looked like when it was part of Charles Lang Freer’s Detroit mansion, before he moved in 1923 to Washington, DC, to become part of the Freer Gallery of Art (now the NMAA).

The Peacock Room in the Freer Gallery of the National Museum of Asian Art on the National Mall. Wikipedia.

The first eight galleries of the transformed National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall will reopen on October 14 with free timed passes. Additional galleries will reopen in phases.

The Rubell DC Museum, located at 65 Eye St. SW in the former Randall School, will open on October 29 with the “What’s Going On” exhibit. Referencing the seminal 1971 album by Marvin Gaye, who graduated from Randall Junior High in 1954, the exhibition will feature nearly 200 contemporary works from Don and Mera Rubell’s collection of artists such as Maurizio Cattelan, Richard Prince, Hank Willis Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems. .

Key words“What’s Going On”Atomic BombingBeyond King Tut: The Immersive ExperienceBoston Public LibraryCarrie Mae WeemsCharles Lang FreerCross MacKenzie GalleryDon and Mera RubellFreer GallerygargoyleGrace of Monaco: Princess in DiorHank Willis ThomasHiroshimaHirshhorn MuseumJacob LawrenceJames McNeill WhistlerJapanese PaintingJohn AkomfrahJohn Singer SargentKing TutMarvin GayeMaurizio CattelanNational Geographic Museum of Air and SpaceNapoleon MuseumNational MallNational Museum of Asian ArtNational Portrait GalleryOkamoto Shuki.Rebecca CrossRichard PrinceThe Peacock Roomthe Phillips CollectionThe Rubell Museum“Jacob Lawrence and the Children of Hiroshima”“Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition”
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