If you’re need of a mid-day pick-me-up (and let’s face it, who among us isn’t), you can go the standard food route, the energy drink route, the tap-your-head-against-a-desk-until-you’re-awake route or you can enjoy some truly eccentric, colorful art at pop-up Bikkuribako.
Upon walking into sushi kingpin Kaz Okochi’s Oh Fish! you’ll instantly feel whimsied and transported to a time that exists outside of your lunch break; the art pop-up’s vibrant pieces hang from the walls, the rafters, branches and the ceiling, creating an exciting art installation and shop available for only two weeks.
The name of the pop-up, Bikkuribako, means–essentially–“lovely surprise box,” a fitting title for an art gallery within an already-lovely spot to get lunch (which, fittingly enough, also comes in boxes). The interactive art gallery/shop inside is packed with unique pieces, from Gabriel Mellan‘s large wood blocks to Matt Hollis‘s botanical soft sculpture and colorful wall hangings. Inside you’ll find sketches drawn with the smallest pen available for purchase in the world (Martin Swift) and handmade jewelry inspired by nature (Analya Cespedes).
“As an artist myself, I want to support artisans here the best way I can which is by giving them a platform to shine, in the center of the city during prime business hours,” Okochi said. “My sincere hope is that all their work will sell and more businesses will take time to explore partnerships like these.”
The pop-up is curated and managed by Lisa Markuson, a local artist and philanthropist familiar with both Japanese culture and D.C.’s art scene. When piecing the works together, Markuson specifically avoided asking familiar faces who might run in the same circles; in this way, the experience and final collaboration were a complete experiment we wholeheartedly hope is only the first of many. And who knows; according to Markuson, there may be some art, origami or sushi classes in the near future…
Pieces are on display at Oh Fish! (1103 19th Street NW) from 11:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and available for purchase on and off site.