Spring Visual Arts Preview 2011

Paul Gauguin. 'Mata Mua (In Olden Times),' 1892. oil on canvas
Paul Gauguin. 'Mata Mua (In Olden Times),' 1892. oil on canvas

Corcoran Gallery of Art

NEXT at the Corcoran: BFA Class of 2011
April 23–May 22, 2011
On the footsteps of Corcoran’s progressive and wonderfully fresh “NOW” series, which spotlights contemporary working artists as comprehensively as most museums cover the classics, comes NEXT, an exhibition of the Corcoran College graduating class of 2011. There is sure to be an impressive array of budding artists on display with the bravado and curiosity that students exemplify, like horses chomping at the bit.

NOW at the Corcoran: Chris Martin
June 18–October 23, 2011
Although abstract, Martin’s paintings are a direct response to the physical world around him. Many of his works integrate objects from his immediate environment into their surfaces, including kitchen utensils, records, photographs, and Persian carpets. The works are as much about daily life—music, travel, and language—as they are about mythology, storytelling, the endurance of symbols, and the role of painting in art history.


Freer | Sackler

Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan
February 26–July 31, 2011 (Sackler Gallery)
Majestic sixth-century Chinese Buddhist sculpture is combined with 3-D imaging technology in this exploration of one of the most important groups of Buddhist devotional sites in early medieval China. Carved into the mountains of northern China, the Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan (pronounced "shahng-tahng-shahn") were the crowning cultural achievement of the Northern Qi dynasty (550-77 CE). Once home to a magnificent array of sculptures--monumental Buddhas, divine attendant figures, and crouching monsters framed by floral motifs--the limestone caves were severely damaged in the first half of the twentieth century, when their contents were chiseled away and offered for sale on the international art market. The exhibit re-creates the forms and power of these sacred Eastern sculptures as they were originally constructed.


Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977
February 24, 2011- May 15, 2011
Palermo (1943-1977), renowned throughout Europe as an influential postwar painter, has been largely looked over by America. This exhibition is the first comprehensive survey of his work in the United States, reflecting the artist’s progression, follows a loose chronology based on his four main bodies of work.

Directions: Grazia Toderi
Opens April 21, 2011
Best known for her large-scale installations, Toderi calls her video projections “frescoes of light.” The artist works from documentary imagery collected from urban night surveillance and military, satellite, and space program footage. Over these she superimposes her own photography and cinematography, altering the effect with digital manipulations and unifying the vista with sepia-tone filters. The result feels both familiar and mysterious, as the eye struggles to determine the horizon line and read the origins of fields of glimmering lights. Shown on an endless loop, these mesmerizing nightscapes represent the artist’s ambition to “visualize the infinite.”


The Kreeger Museum

In Unison: 20 Washington, DC Artists
January 15 - February 26, 2011
The Kreeger initiated this exhibition with DC artist Sam Gilliam, collecting 20 established artists from the local community, all working in different styles and mediums. All artists were invited to come together to create a series of five monoprints each, one of which was selected for the exhibition by Gilliam, Judy A. Greenberg, Director of The Kreeger, Marsha Mateyka of the Marsha Mateyka Gallery and Claudia Rousseau, Ph.D., art critic and art historian. “The ideas of creating a group portfolio and exhibiting together express the ideas of unity and identity that are underlying motives of the project, and which are vital to sustaining a thriving artistic community,” says Rousseau.

Tom Wesselmann Draws
April 8 - July 30, 2011
American pop artist and collagist Tom Wesselmann (1931-2004) worked feverishly up until the end of his life, creating iconic pop imagery which, almost in contrast to the ironic and dismissive nature of the movement, spoke powerfully toward the history and influences of fine art. The exhibition at the Kreeger, which covers drawings from Wesselmann's entire career, spanning 1959-2004, is the most comprehensive exhibition of drawings by the artist that has ever been assembled. Many of the 108 works have never been seen outside the artist's studio in New York.


The Phillips Collection

90 Years of New – 90th Anniversary
Since it first opened its doors in 1921, The Phillips Collection has been revered as a pioneer in contemporary art; it was America’s first museum of modern art, and it has remained a relevant and progressive hub for contemporary fine art throughout its life. The 90th Birthday Celebration, which will stretch into the rest of the year, will feature focuses on a variety of installations, old and new, including an especially created new work by Sam Gilliam, who had his first solo show here in 1967. Firsts, and the re-emergence of classic works purchased by the Phillips will be one of the themes throughout the year.

Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence: Painting with White Border
June 11–September 4, 2011
After a visit to his native Moscow in 1912, Vasily Kandinsky (1866–1944) sought to find a way to record the “extremely powerful impressions” that lingered in his memory. Working tirelessly through numerous drawings, watercolors, and oil studies over a five-month period, Kandinsky eventually arrived at his 1913 masterpiece, Painting with White Border. The exhibition will reunite this painting with over 12 preparatory studies from international collections, including the Phillips’s oil sketch, and compare it with other closely related works. Complemented by an in-depth conservation study of Painting with White Border, the exhibition will provide viewers with a rare glimpse into Kandinsky’s creative process.


National Gallery of Art:

Gauguin: Maker of Myth
February 27–June 5, 2011
Gauguin (1848–1903) was one of the most traveled artists in history, and it showed up in his work. His colorful images of Brittany and the islands of the South Seas are some of the most striking, distinct works of the last 200 years. His travels will be on display in nearly 120 works by Gauguin in the first major look at the artist's oeuvre in the United States since the NGA’s retrospective of the artist in 1988–1989. The exhibition, organized by Tate Modern, London, brings together an eclectic breadth of self-portraits, genre pictures, still lifes, and landscapes from throughout the artist's career. It includes not only oil paintings but also pastels, prints, drawings, sculpture, and decorated functional objects.

Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals
February 20–May 30, 2011
Venice inspired a school of competitive painters, who focused on the land, sea and cityscapes of the Bride of the Sea, resulting in a remarkable achievement in 18th-century art. This exhibition celebrates the rich variety of these Venetian views, known as vedute, through some 20 masterworks by Canaletto and more than 30 by his rivals. The painters depicted the famous monuments and vistas of Venice in different moods and seasons.

In the Tower: Nam June Paik
March 13 – October 2
Paik (1932–2006) is a towering figure in contemporary art. Born in Korea and trained in Japan and Germany in aesthetics and music, Paik settled in New York in 1964 and quickly became a pioneer in the integration of art with technology and performance. Considered by many to be the first video artist, this exhibition features a selection from Paik's estate as well as from the Gallery's own collection. The centerpiece is One Candle, Candle Projection (1988–2000), one of the artist's simplest, most dynamic works. Each morning a candle is lit and a video camera follows its progress, casting its flickering, magnified, processed image onto the walls in myriad projections.

Gabriel Metsu 1629–1667
April 17–July 24, 2011
One of the most important Dutch genre painters of the mid-17th century, Gabriel Metsu (1629–1667) could capture ordinary moments of life with freshness and spontaneity. Although his career was relatively short, Metsu enjoyed great success as a genre painter, but also for his religious scenes, still lifes, and portraits. The show will feature some 35 paintings by the artist.


The National Portrait Gallery

Calder’s Portraits: A New Language
March 11-August 14, 2011
Most people recognize Calder (1898-1976) for his grandly ambitious, larger-than-life mobiles, like the one hanging in the main plaza of the NGA’s East Wing, or the “Calder Room” in the same building. What many people don’t know is that Calder was also a prolific portrait artist. Throughout his career Calder portrayed entertainment, sports, and art-world figures, including Josephine Baker, Babe Ruth, and Charles Lindbergh to name a few. Calder worked largely in wire, which he shaped into three-dimensional portraits of considerable character and nuance. Suspended from the wall or ceiling, the portraits are free to move. The movement gives the subjects a life of their own.

Capital Portraits: Treasures from Washington Private Collections
April 8 - September 5, 2011
This exhibition presents portraits that reside in private Washington, DC collections. Many of the works have never been on public display before and the exhibition reveals a remarkable range of styles, images and perhaps most importantly, stories. Works included are by major artists such as John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol.

150th Commemoration of the Civil War: The Death of Ellsworth
April 29, 2011 - March 18, 2012
On the site of a former Union hospital, the National Portrait Gallery will mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through a series of four alcove exhibitions—one each year—commemorating this period of American history. The first of these exhibitions recounts the death of Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth in Alexandria, VA. Ellsworth was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and the first Union officer to be killed in the war.

One Life: Ronald Reagan
July 1, 2011 - May 28, 2012
If you have seen the One Life: Katherine Graham, you don’t need to be told that this is bound to be a small gem of a pictorial biography, with both historical, social and emotional power for anyone who ever cared about Reagan, one way or the other.


Smithsonian American Art Museum

To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America
March 11, 2011 – September 5, 2011
During the 1940s, painter George Ault (1891-1948) created precise yet eerie pictures that have come to be seen, following his death, as some of the most original paintings made in America in those years. To Make a World captures a 1940s America that was rendered fragile by the Great Depression and made anxious by a global conflict.

History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011
March 25, 2011 – July 31, 2011
This exhibition presents the work of a group of artists: ceramicist Cliff Lee, furniture maker Matthias Pliessnig, glass artist Judith Schaechter and silversmith Ubaldo Vitali. These four extraordinary artists create works of superior craftsmanship that address the classic craft notion of function without sacrificing a contemporary aesthetic


The Textile Musem

Green: the Color and the Cause
April 16 -September 11, 2011
This exhibition will celebrate everything green, both as a color and as a cause, exploring the techniques people have devised to create green textiles, the meanings this color has held in cultures across time and place, and the ways that contemporary textile artists and designers are responding to concerns about the environment. The exhibition will include a selection of work from the Museum’s collection, along with extraordinary work by contemporary artists and designers from five continents, including two extraordinary on-site installations.

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