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It is a pretty fabulous DC Fine Arts SPRING/SUMMER ahead. So much so that listing everything that’s going on in any kind of comprehensive way seemed near impossible. Instead, sort of like with our other guides, we decided to focus on the unmissables (in our opinion, that is-please feel free to suggest your choices in the comments).  From museum shows to gallery exhibits to the fairs and festivals and great events, we got you covered here. Please note that we will be keeping you posted on this throughout the season, so read our ART SECTION all the time.

BONUS: Looking for more guides? Check out:

ENJOY, and follow us on facebook and twitter (@BYT) for ongoing updates.
01 - shows


  • American Cool @ National Portrait Gallery (now through September 7) – from our review of the show/opening: After you see the American Cool exhibit, your cool factor will sky rocket. The portraits of each honorary “cool” person exude coolness, so you’re bound to feel as though some rubbed off on you. What exactly does it take to be historically remembered as cool you ask? The Gallery says, “Cool carries a social charge of rebellious self-expression, charisma, edge and mystery.” Everyone you know who is cool, forgot was cool, and never knew was cool is waiting for you at the National Portrait Gallery.


  • Undone @ Artisphere (now through March 30) — From the Artisphere website: This series of short films blow-out the microscopic and create surreal miniature worlds using macro-cinematographic film techniques. The goal of the exhibition is to evoke a sense of space ambiguous of scale. Seattle artist C. Andrew Rohrmann’s (aka scntfc) macro-cinematography has been used as visual effects in science fiction short films Anima and Dedalo. (Image courtesy of Artisphere.com from C. Andrew Rohrmann’s Undone.)


  • Judy Chicago: Circa ’75 @ National Museum of Women in the Arts (now through April 13) —  From the NMWA website: In 1970, artist Judy Cohen legally adopted the last name “Chicago” and brought the art world a new visual vocabulary with compositions focusing pictorial space at the center. With her art, Chicago impacted the U.S. feminist movement of the 1970s. Circa ’75 is an exhibition of 13 of Chicago’s seminal works in celebration of her 75th birthday, and will also include some works from her “Great Ladies” series. (Image courtesy of the NMWA website.)

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  • Gravity’s Edge @ The Hirshorn (now through June 15) — From the Hirshorn website: Offers an expanded view of Color Field painting, reaching from 1959 to 1978. Works by canonical East Coast Color Field painters Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland will be featured. The exhibition’s title refers to its two main themes: the force of gravity as a determining factor in artistic production and “the edge” as a compelling aspect of the structure and perception of an artwork. The works explore depth, color streaming, and the physicality of color in acrylics and latex paints. (Image: Lynda Benglis, Corner Piece, 1969. © Lynda Benglis/Licensed by VAGA, New York. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. Installation view)

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  • Home Sewn: Quilts From the Lower Mississippi Valley @ Anacostia Community Museum (now through September 21) — From the ACM website: American Quilting techniques passed through five generations of southern women are displayed, communicating the social and economic impact of an African American quilting  network in rural Mississippi. Quilts from Annie Dennis (1904-1997) and Emma Russell (1909-2004) featured
  • Made in the USA: American Masters from The Phillips Collection, 1850 – 1970  (March 1 through August 31) — From The Phillips Collection website: …a thematic journey that reveals the breadth of America’s modernist vision, beginning with the great heroes of American art of the late 19th century, whose work set the course for modern art in the United States, and concluding with a grand display of the Abstract Expressionists, whose new visual language turned American art into a global force. More than a list of names tracing a standardized history, the collection presents the rich diversity and multiplicity of voices assembled by Phillips, who relied on his eye for good work, distinctive talent, and great promise. (Image: Thomas Eakins, Miss Amelia Van Buren, 1891. Acquired by The Phillips Collection in 1927.)

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  • Garry Winogrand @ National Gallery of Art (March 8 through June 8) — From BYT’s own Svetlana in her review of the exhibit: Winogrand (and his work) in relation have been described as “irrepressible”, “garrolous”, “generous in spirit” and “often ironic yet laced with affection” and each one of these works testifies to that. A lover of women, animals and moments no one else would appreciate, Winogrand approached photography in a way that reflected on how he approached life: with a repudiation for the sentimental, a great prizing of style and the idea that one “does not go out into the world simply to take a great photo, one goes out into the world to learn about the world and experience it, and if a great photo happens as a result then – great” and you can see that in his work: moments simply happened around Winogrand and he had the good reflexes to catch the most magical of them. (Image: Garry Winogrand Fort Worth, Texas, 1974–77. Gelatin silver print. Garry Winogrand Archive, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona; © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.)


  • Loop @ The Corcoran (March 8 through April 20) — This. Is. So. Cool. We love interactive art exhibit and this one, with its combination of visitor participation, light, and sound is sure to be one of the most fascinating of the year. From The Corcoran website: Using the architectural qualities of the Corcoran’s neoclassical-style rotunda, Steinkamp and Johnson situated electronic visual and aural patterns that dematerialize the space and accentuate its details. Upon entering into Loop, the viewer is surrounded by rows of multicolored digital rope, lifting and undulating, seemingly blown from anchors at the base of the high ceiling. Passing through the projections, visitors cast shadows on the walls and become a multi-colored three-dimensional moving abstractions, the resulting environment is interactive, immersive, and hypnotic, challenging preconceptions about the relationship between people and their environments. (Image: Jennifer Steinkamp and Jimmy Johnson. Loop. 2000. Six-channel video and sound installation. Gift of the Artists. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2001.48.1-.10. © Jennifer Steinkamp, with after Antonio Canova. Venus. n.d., Marble. 69 x 20 x 18 inches. William A. Clark Collection. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 26.696a. Photo by Blaine Harrington III.)


  • Pop Art Prints @ American Art Museum (March 21 through August 31) — From the AAM’s websitePop Art Prints presents a selection of thirty-seven prints from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection. The installation includes works from primarily the 1960s by Allan D’Arcangelo, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Mel Ramos, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann. The installation is part of a series that highlights objects from the museum’s collection that are rarely on public view. (Image: Roy Lichtenstein, Sweet Dreams, Baby! from the portfolio, 11 Pop Artists, Volume III, 1965.)

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  • Rineke Dijkstra: The Krazyhouse @ The Corcoran (March 29 through June 15) — From The Corcoran website: This four-channel video installation was created at a dance club in Liverpoo, UK in 2009. Dijkstra met her five subjects on the dance floor, and then filmed them dancing and singing their choice of music in a special studio she fabricated in a back room of the club. Choice of dress, music, and dance in the videos seek to speak to the time and place they were filmed. (Image: Rineke Dijkstra, still from The Krazyhouse, Liverpool, UK, 2009. Four channel HD video-installation. 32 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris. © Rineke Dijkstra)

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  •  Territories and Subjectives: Contemporary Art from Argentina @ Art Museum of the Americas (April 3 through July 7)– From the AMA website: This collection of works from 33 visionary artists explores the human construct of territory and links that construct to the notion of subjectivity. Art shares the borders, classifications and limits that define the idea of territory. The exhibit will display renderings of Argentina’s 23 provinces from these different artists to prove that communal identity has its points of coincidence as well as divergence. (Image: Alejandro Chaskielberg, “Roland Paiva’s Radiant Glow,” 2009 from the series La Creciente (High Water).)


  • Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leon @ National Museum of African Art (April 9 through August 17) — From the NMAA website: Visions from the Forests surveys the little-known arts of Liberia and Sierra Leone. William Siegmann (1943-2011), former curator of African art at the Brooklyn Museum, lived and worked in Liberia from 1965 to 1987. While there he began collecting art from Liberia and Sierra Leone. Siegmann’s collection, particularly rich in masks, provides an excellent overview the region’s traditional art forms, including numerous objects used in girls’ initiation ceremonies, divination figures, ritual objects and body ornaments cast in brass, small steatite figures dating from the 15th to 18th centuries, and textiles.
  •  Fermata @ Artisphere (April 24 through August 10) — From Artisphere’s websiteFermata is Artisphere’s first exhibition dedicated entirely to sound and the largest of its kind in the region to date. Featuring nearly 30 artists, Fermatatakes an expansive approach and is a celebration of individuals using sound in a variety of disciplines, from composer Ryuichi Sakamoto to NASA Kepler scientist Lucianne Walkowicz. Centered around a wall of speakers designed by sound artist John Henry Blatter that will be used by all participants in the show, Fermata will unfold in three parts, or movements, each featuring a different combination of sound works that will cycle continuously for three or so weeks. (Image courtesy of Artisphere’s website.)


  • Ralph Fasanella: Lest We Forget @ American Art Museum (May 2 through August 3) —  Full of vibrant color and stark contrast, Fasanella sought to unravel the difficulties of postwar America and champion labor rights using his unique paintings. From the American Art Museum website: Untrained as an artist, Fasanella developed an astute and accessible style that reflected his affiliation with and commitment to the working class. He viewed painting as an extension of his union activity and his alternately subtle and brash paintings functioned simultaneously as memorial documents, didactic tools, and rallying cries, making the possibility of a better society palpable to his own community and others like it. These paintings, often large in scale and laden with symbolic imagery, deal with themes of struggle, endurance, social justice, family and community. (Image: Ralph Fasanella, Modern Times, 1966, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Maurice and Margo Cohen, Birmingham, MI © 1966, Estate of Ralph Fasanella.)

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  • An American in London: Whistler and the Thames  @ Freer Sackler (May 3 through August 17) — From the Freer Sackler website: American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) arrived in London in 1859 and discovered in its neighborhoods and inhabitants an inexhaustible source of aesthetic inspiration. His images of the city created over the next two decades represent one of his most successful and profound assaults on the contemporary art establishment. Paintings of famed London sites in Chelsea and along the Thames River, as well as prints and rarely seen drawings, watercolors, and pastels—present a captivating survey of the artist’s unique depictions of a rapidly changing urban environment. The exhibition culminates with some of Whistler’s stunning, iconic nocturnes, including Blue and Gold—Old Battersea Bridge (1872–77). (Image: Nocturne: Battersea Bridge, James McNeil Whistler, 1872-1873, Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer)

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  • Andrew Wyeth: Looking Out, Looking In @ National Gallery of Art (May 4 through November 30) — From the National Gallery’s website: Wyeth returned to windows repeatedly, producing more than 300 works that explore not only the formal but also the conceptual richness of the subject. Spare, elegant, and abstract, these paintings are free of the narrative element associated with the artist’s better-known figural compositions. They will be grouped in suites, incorporating related works that explore the disciplined process of reduction and simplification Wyeth consistently used in creating his window paintings. The resulting images are often rigorous in their formal construction but deeply personal in subject. (Image: Andrew Wyeth, Spring Fed, 1967, tempera on masonite, Collection of Bill and Robin Weiss.)


  •  Degas/Cassatt @ National Gallery of Art (May 11 through October 5) — From the National Gallery’s website: These two major figures of the impressionist movement shared a keen observer’s eye, as well as an openness to experimentation. With a focus on the critical period from the late 1870s through the mid-1880s when Degas and Cassatt were most closely allied, this exhibition brings together some 70 works in a variety of media to examine the fascinating artistic dialogue that developed between the two. (Image: Mary Cassatt, Child Picking a Fruit, 1893, oil on canvas, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Gift of Ivor and Anne Massey. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photographer Travis Fullerton.)

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  • Emilie Brzezinski: The Lure of the Forest @ Kreeger (September 2 through December 17) — From the Kreeger website:
    An exhibition of monumental wood sculptures,The Lure of the Forest expresses Brzezinski’s fascination with trees and her love and respect for the environment. The Museum pays homage to this masterful sculptor, who for over thirty years has chain sawed and hand-chiseled tree trunks into majestic forms.Each work exhibits beauty, grace, sensuousness, and strength. Her imposing installations are awe-inspiring and express the passion and respect Brzezinski has for her trees.

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  • Centerfold Artist @ Project 4 (March 29 through May 2014) This podcast project-turned-exhibition seeks to spotlight “the person behind the artist.” In 2013, collaborators Annette Isham and Zac Willis hosted a monthly podcast based on a hand-written data sheet completed by their artist of focus (‘Mr. January,” “Ms. February,” etc.).


  • Floating Worlds by Eleanor Kotlarik Wang @ Studio Gallery (April 2 through April 26) — From Studio Gallery’s website: Organic forms appear to float on paper, wood or canvas surfaces in the new work by Eleanor Kotlarik Wang. They are airy, free and unattached to any sense of space and time. Layers of silkscreen images combined with paint applications are sanded and scratched through, then resurfaced in various combinations of subtractive and additive approaches.
  •  Alchemical Vessels @ Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery (April 4 through May 16) — From the Joan Hisaoka website: The ceramic bowl was selected as the fundamental element of the exhibition to symbolize creating a space where healing can take place—an idea at the heart of Smith Center‘s work and mission. Metaphorically speaking, Smith Center—the space and the work we do within our walls—resembles an alchemical vessel. People bring their everyday burdens, fears, and pains to us, and in this place of holding, we help transform those toxic elements into hope, light, wisdom and strength. (Image courtesy of the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery website.)BYTJoan
  • Kate Miller: Enduring and Agniet Snoep: Alive and Present @ Connersmith (April 12 through May 31) — These are two separate exhibits being hosted by the Connersmith gallery simultaneously. Kate Miller’s work, a series of surreal portraits of children in colorful garb, is disturbing in a subtle way; the neutral expressions of the children invite the viewer to contemplate their inner monologue. Agniet Snoep’s photos combine colorful crustaceans and flowers to create a startling but compositionally fascinating and aesthetically gorgeous body of work. (Image: Agniet Snoep)

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  •  Float @ Transformer (May 17 through June 21)From the Transformer websiteFloat presents the photography, sculpture and mixed media work of four dynamic emerging Jamaican artists – Deborah Anzinger, Rodell Warner, Leasho Johnson, and Marlon James – in their first US exhibition. Working in collaboration with Jamaican based non-profit NLS Kingston, this exhibition at Transformer will present works that are at once untethered contributions to and appropriations from a globalized contemporary visual language, functioning as self- conscious reflections from the position of observed otherness. (Image: Marlon James, Vogue, digital print, 2011.)


  • ACADEMY 2014 @ Connersmith (opens in July sometime-keep an eye out for more details) – the annual invitational survey of outstanding work by MFA/BFA students in the Washington/Baltimore area and beyod, curated by Jamie Smith is one of our favorite shows every summer: full of life, energy and promise for DC’s art future. (image from one of our previous coverages)

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03 – awesome

  • Cherry Blast (March 29) – The annual party which is all about local music, art, and cherry blossoms (despite them being frozen half to death still) is this weekend at Blind Whino. Go.


  • Meet the Artist: Christian Marclay @ Hirshhorn (March 29) — From the Smithsonian Website: Join Marclay for a lecture and discussion in Hirshhorn’s Ring Auditorium. Over the past three decades, Christian Marclay has produced a remarkable variety of works exploring the convergence of sight and sound. His politically resonant 14-minute video series Guitar Drag, 2000- part of the exhibition Damage Control- depicts and amplified electric guitar violently dragged along a Texas country road by a pickup truck, alluding to the 1998 murder of James Byrd Jr
  • Corcoran Uncorked: Best & Brightest  (April 16) -Every year Corcoran hosts a big NEXT show, which consists of the best work of the College’s graduating seniors and they have a whole evening of celebrations planned around it this fall. “This evening is all about what’s new, up-and-coming, and innovative! Take a tour through the gallery’s spring exhibitions—Jennifer Steinkamp and Jimmy Johnson: Loop, Sol Lewitt’s Wall Drawing #65, and Rineke Dijkstra: The Krazyhouse—and hear Corcoran graduating seniors discuss their work on view in the exhibition, NEXT at the Corcoran. Hear live music performed by three local bands on the rise (keep an eye out for some awesome guests from BYT’S SUPER SAMPLER 2014), and enjoy innovative cocktails all evening long prepared by Muse.” (photo from one of our previsous coverages of NEXT)


  • XIX: Experimental Fashion Event @ St. John’s Church (April 5) — artists and designers from MICA’s fibers department will show student-crafted garment works that will challenge conceptions of art and fashion. The works will touch on the theatrical nature of fashion and force a contrast between the runway and the stage.
  • Color Field and Art History, Timothy App @ The Art League (April 5) — painter and MICA professor Timothy App will discuss the “Color Field” movement as part of The Art League’s lecture series.
  • Artscape 2014 (July 18-20) — America’s largest free arts fest will be held for its 33rd year in Baltimore. Enjoy live music, comedy, and plenty of art from local artists. If you don’t walk away with a sick screen-print or a garbage sculpture, then you’ll at least have enjoyed some funnel cake, live entertainment, and good people watching.Artscape 201304 - booksBiz Stone In Conversation with Megan Garber @ Sixth & I (April 2) — If you’re a creative, are interested in social media, or are obsessed with your Twitter account, then this is the book event for you. Twitter co-founder Biz Stone will talk about his new book, Things a Little Bird Told me: Confessions of a Creative Mind and will probably be amenable to answering your burning Twitter-related questions. He’ll be signing copies of the book after the talk, so grab yourself a copy and bask in the presence of one of TIME‘s Most Influential People in the World.
  • New Poetry Book Readings @ Petworth Library (April 17) — April is National Poetry Month! Three local poets will read from their recently published books: Julie Enszer will be reading from Sisterhood, Katherine Young reading from Day of the Border Guards, and Dan Vera from Speaking Wiri Wiri.
  • Tribute to Essex Hemphill @ Mt. Pleasant Library (April 19) — From the DC Library Website: Poet, editor, and activist Essex Hemphill was born April 16, 1957 in Chicago and raised right here in Southeast Washington, D.C.  In 1991, Hemphill edited Brother to Brother: New Writings by Black Gay Men, which won a Lambda Literary Award. In 1992, he released Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry, which won the National Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual New Author Award. On Nov. 4, 1995, Hemphill died from complications relating to AIDS. In this program, local poets Regie Cabico, Philip Clark, Wayson Jones and Michelle Parkerson will share their personal reflections on the life and work of Essex Hemphill, including selected readings from his poetry. After the program, there will be an audience Q&A followed by a meet-and-greet with the poets.
  • Spring Brews: A Seasonal Beer Tasting with The Beer Activist @ Sixth & I (April 29) — There will be beer. If you aren’t already convinced after that sentence, consider the fact that this tasting will be lead by Chris O’Brien, author of Fermenting Revolution:  How to Drink Beer and Save the World. Clearly his priorities are in order.
  • Dear Prudence: Mommy Dearest Edition @ Sixth & I (May 6) — In a talk about the oft-experienced but seldom described problem of mommy issues, Slate advice columnist Emily Yoffe will share her craziest letters and answer all your mommy-related questions.

HOPE YOU ENJOYED!!! Follow us on facebook and twitter (@BYT) for ongoing updates.

Please feel free to let us know in the comments if you feel we missed something (and we probably missed a bunch, lets face it). And please read the rest of the all important fall guides too: