It is a pretty fabulous DC Fine Arts FALL/WINTER 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-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.
- Dan Steinhilber: Marlin Underground @ The Kreeger (ongoing – December 29, 2012) – Steinhilber has spent his career making art out of mundane objects, always with a sense of humor and a keen eye towards disruption. So, even if the Kreeger choosing him to do a site-specific show about their fable Philip Johnson designed building seemed like a, to say the least, interesting choice initially, it has proven a fertile ground for both the museum and the artist in question. Inspired by the secret musical life contained within some of the everyday objects and materials with which he has long been fascinated, Steinhilber has set out to teach (as it were) some of these things—a cardboard box, HVAC ventilation shaft, clothing dryer, or an old squeaky desk chair, for example—to play their own sounds. All of a sudden-the Kreeger is a much more fun place to visit.
- Per Kirkeby Paintings & Sculpture @ Phillips Collection (October 6, 2012 – January 6, 2013) – One of Europe’s most celebrated living artists, Per Kirkeby is a painter, sculptor, geologist, filmmaker, writer, and poet, who draws inspiration from natural history from the progression of humanity to the scientific evolution of the world, capturing art and science in constant stages of flux. The show at the Phillips Collection is the most comprehensive display of his work in the U.S. to date features 26 richly layered paintings and 11 striking bronzes. (image: Untitled, Per Kirkeby, 2009)
- Ai WeiWei: According To What? @ The Hirshhorn (October 7, 2012 – February 24, 2013) – Ai Weiwei: According to What? arrives hot on the heels of both the spectacular documentary about the artist and his Zodiac Head exhibit, also at the Hirshhorn. According to What? is the first North American survey of the work of this mercurial figure emerging from the rapidly expanding Chinese contemporary art scene and encompasses sculpture, photography, installation, video and audio work, the exhibition has been significantly revised and updated from the 2009 version of the show organized by the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. And for WeiWei completists among us, yes- it features many works made since 2009, when the Hirshhorn began working with the Mori on the current version of the exhibition, including several that have never been exhibited before.
- pair this one with: Ai WeiWei: Perspectives @ Freer Sackler Galleries (ongoing – April 7, 2013) – Noting the abundance of antique wood on the market, Ai had a number of pieces transported from Guangdong to his studio in Beijing to create a series of objects and installations. Fragments is a culmination of that body of work. Working with a team of skilled carpenters, Ai turned pillars and beams of ironwood (or tieli) salvaged from several dismantled Qing dynasty temples into a large-scale, seemingly chaotic work, which he calls an “irrational structure.” Of course-it is anything but. (photo: Fragments, 2005. Ironwood (tieli). Tables, chairs, parts of beams, and pillars from dismantled temples of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Sigg Collection)
- Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective @ National Gallery of Art (October 14, 2012 – January 13, 2013) – In the first major exhibition since Roy Lichtenstein’s death in 1997, more than 100 of the artist’s greatest paintings from all periods of his career will be presented along with a selection of related drawings and sculptures. This retrospective presents Lichtenstein’s expansive legacy, including the classic early pop paintings based on advertisements and comic-book treatments of war and romance, his versions of paintings by the modern masters, and series including Brushstrokes, Mirrors, Artist’s Studios, Nudes, and Landscapes in the Chinese Style (image: Look Mickey, 1961. Gift of Roy and Dorothy Lichtenstein in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. 1990.41.1)
- Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters I-XVIII @ THE CORCORAN (November 10, 2012–February 24, 2013) – Right after the well-received show at MoMA, Taryn Simon’s A Living Man Declared Dead and Other ChaptersI-XVIII is coming to the Corcoran (this time around-showing ALL the chapters, unlike previous non-complete exhibits). Simon produced the show over a four-year period (2008–11), during which she traveled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories. “In each of the 18 chapters,” the photographer has explained, “you see the external forces of territory, governance, power, and religion, colliding with the internal forces of psychological and physical inheritance.” She chose a wide variety of subjects, including feuding families in Brazil, the body double of Saddam Hussein’s son Uday, and the so-called living dead in India. This collection is at once cohesive and arbitrary, mapping the relationships among order, chaos, genetics, and other components of fate.Simon’s detailed archive of images and text is systematically organized in grids to reveal social changes driven by science, culture, and chance. BONUS: Simon will be on hand for a lecture at the museum on November 8th. We recommend getting registered for this event NOW.
- Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge @ The National Portrait Gallery (November 16, 2012 through August 18, 2013) – In the sixth installation of the Portrait Gallery’s “Portraiture Now” series, work of Mequitta Ahuja, Mary Borgman, Adam Chapman, Ben Durham, Till Freiwald and Rob Matthews is showcased. Working and probing at the intersection between drawing and photography, painting, video, textual writing and computer technology, all six artists show a commitment to direct, immediate, highly personal mark-making. Each of them employs a painstaking technique; their meticulous, repetitive actions result in a contemplative, almost meditative, engagement with process that adds a psychological depth to their work. (image: Tracy, My Wife. by Rob Matthews)
- Nam June Paik: Global Visionary @ American Art Museum (December 13, 2012-August 11, 2013) – in what seems to be a great season for retrospectives in DC, American Art Museum has a an outstanding show coming up dedicated to Paik’s conceptualization of the future roles of communication technologies in the expanding global media culture, and will encompass nearly 70 artworks and more than 120 items from the Archive, including Paik’s rarely seen installation Moon Projection with E Moon and Birds (1996), on loan from the Paik Estate (photo: Nam June Paik, Zen for TV, 1963, 1976 version, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Byungseol and Dolores An)
- 40 Under 40 @ The Renwick (ongoing through February 3, 2013)
- On the Campaign Trail @ The Corcoran (with perfect timing from October 17 – November 4)
- Roads of Arabia @ Freer Sackler (November 17, 2012-February 24, 2013)
- The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years @ National Gallery of Art (September 30–December 31, 2012)
- Lisa Ruyter ” Let us Now Praise Famous Men” @ CONNERSMITH (ongoing – October 20) – the inaugural show at CONNERSMITH (formerly known as Conner Contemporary and now a merging of names of their two owners) finds in front of a compelling series of acrylic paingtings, by DC native artist Lisa Ruyter (now based in Austria) which appropriate 1930-40s black and white photograph from the archive of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information in the Library of Congress, making them more aggressive, colorful and defiantly current.
- HENSE DC (October 6, 12pm-8pm, 700 Delaware Ave SW)- Art Whino is bringing Atlanta-based Alex Brewer, better known as HENSE to DC for a one-day-only very special project. HENSE’s unique language of organic shapes and abstract approach sets his work apart from the rest and results in work that is instantly recognizable. (bonus: Complimentary beverages with advance RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Double show + Inauguration of Mini-Fridge @ The Fridge (October 6) – ULTRA will open his first solo show (quiet walks in dangerous places) in the main Fridge gallery space, and Laura Elkins will open a show in our *brand new* exhibit space at The Fridge being named The Mini-Fridge. A good night all around.
- Dan Tague: Independence in the Age of Decadence @ Civilian Art Projects (now through October 20) – Tague creates work from car hoods, punk t-shirts, portraits of presidents, bombs and chandelier parts, painting, photography, collage, sculpture, video, sound, and more
- Satomi Shirai: Home & Home @ Heiner Contemporary (now – October 27) – Home & Home chronicles the artist’s experience as an immigrant following her move from Tokyo to Queens in 2004. She presents an existence defined by things: magazines, bottles, take-out containers, clothes, and food. All of this paraphernalia — piled on tables, crammed on shelves, and sometimes covering the floors — creates a sense of chaos and dislocation; it also alludes to the way familiar items from home can become stand-ins for the actual place. The results are both lush and heartbreaking at the same time. (photo: Cleaning 2007)
- Benjamin Bellas: Losing Something You Never Had @ Flashpoint (November 9-December 21, 2012) – losing something you never had is an installation inspired by the artist’s uncle who was lost at sea during the Vietnam War, which goes beyond sheer documentation to explore loss, mourning and other universal topics
- SONYA CLARK – Solo Exhibition @ Contemporary Wing (February 1, 2013-March 3, 2013) – unconventional raw materials coming together for powerful, unsettling installations that explore personal and political and gender identity.
in perfect harmony with BYT FALL ARTS guide, (e)merge art fair starts THIS WEEK (Thursday to be exact)! Pretty much every DC gallery is participating, so be excited to roam the Capitol Skyline Hotel and explore and there is great programming throughout the four days.
Things kick off on October 4th with an opening party by the Capitol Skyline pool (Details and tickets here) and continue through Sunday, with performance art by BYT favorites such at Holly Bass, Andrew Wodzianski and Chajana denHarder, panels, and, of course, 80 exhibitions feat. 150+ artists from 20+ countries strewn around the Capitol Skyline rooms. We have a full preview feature running on this tomorrow – so make sure to be on the look-out for it.
- 2ND Anniversary weekend @ The Artisphere. (October 6-7) – To celebrate Artisphere’s 2-year anniversary, artist Craig Coleman will be activating various public spaces around Rosslyn with a work entitled Sun Boxes. A solar powered sound installation, Sun Boxes is comprised of twenty speakers, each equipped with solar panels. When heard together, Sun Boxes transform outdoor spaces into a walk-through sonic landscape. Come experience Rosslyn’s green spaces in a new way and chat with the artist, who will be on site throughout the anniversary weekend, to learn about his process. + music, a free open house and more.
- Hirshhorn After Hours (October 19) – after a brief summer hiatus, DC’s original after-hours in a museum is back.
- FOTOWEEK (November 9-18). DC’s biggest celebration of photography returns in November. Keep checking both the link and BYT for more details.
- Marina Abramovic -The Artist is Present screenings @ National Gallery of Art (November 17 @ 4pm, November 18 @ 4:30pm)- Over half a million visitors to Marina Abramović’s much talked about 2010 MoMA retrospective lined up for hours for the most alluring aspect of this show—a chance to sit opposite Marina at a table and silently stare, as she stared back. Many were completely devastated by this rigorous, disquieting, and often moving experience. Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present chronicles not only the landmark exhibition but the intriguingly evocative career of this Serbia-born, New York–based performance artist, one of the most charismatic public figures of our time.
A brief run-down of some author-in-person events we think you should go to.
- A.M. Homes @ Politics & Prose (October 6th, 6pm-FREE) – the queen of suburban malaise is back with “May We Be Forgiven” a tragicomedy about losing one’s temper and the consequences of it.
- Salman Rushdie @ Lisner (October 8th, 7pm, $12-$40) – Rushdie’s new book “Joseph Anton: A Memoir” is a recounting of the time he spent living and writing under a pseudonym, until the Fatwa against him was lifted. To get yourself in the mood-read this goden oldie interview we have with him, entitled “Grilling Salman” (you just can’t take some stuff back)
- Jewish Literary Festival @ DCJCC (October 12-14, FREE). Michael Chabon will be there (“Telegraph Avenue” in hand), will you?
- Zadie Smith @ Sixth & I Synagogue (October 18, 7pm – $27) – Smith is back with more tales of multi-cultural London.
- Junot Diaz @ Sixth & I Synagogue (October 22nd, 7pm, – $12) – Junot Diaz seems to be pretty much walking on literary world water these days and his new collection of short stories “This Is How You Lose Her” is not going to do anything to change that. After all, “the half-life of love is forever”
- Kay Ryan on Emily Dickinson @ Folger (Dec 3rd) – When asked if she thinks her poetry is anything like Dickinson’s, US Poet Laureate Ryan, somewhat famously (in poetry circles, at least) responded: “That question is like asking, ‘Do you think you’re much like God?’. Still. On December 3rd (for Dickinson’s birthday celebration) co-sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Poetry Society of America, Ryan will explore those connections, reading from her own work and that of her lyrical spirit animal.