More than an exhibition, “Pump Me Up” is a 30-year-old time capsule, opened to reveal the great cultural gifts that built the foundation of contemporary Washington as well as the Pandora’s box of troubles that, for a few years, contributed equally to the city’s legacy. The good and the bad — but mostly the good — are what make the Corcoran’s tribute to the era of go-go, graffiti and hardcore punk a nostalgic look back, from Bad Brains to “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry’s famous hotel-room exclamation.
The best camera, they say, is the one you have with you. Today, for many people, that’s their phone.
Some photographers, believe it or not, still use cameras. The Athenaeum celebrates the diversity of photographic technology with an exhibition that includes images made by 15 types of equipment, including a pinhole camera and a stereomicroscope. The public reception for “Process: Photography” is Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m.
The opening to what was once a small storage closet has been narrowed to better frame views of Wolfgang Laib’s “Wax Room,” a new and permanent installation at the Phillips Collection. The old door has been removed, as well, so as visitors pass by, they see directly into an enigmatic space, with glowing amber-colored walls and a single, naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
The visible and the invisible circle each other warily in the photographs of Kate MacDonnell and Noelle K. Tan, currently at Civilian Art Projects. Both artists are storytellers of a sort, but with a preference for the cryptic. Neither, for example, identifies where her photos are made. Tan doesn’t provide any information about her images, which offer dramatic contrasts between black and white. MacDonnell’s color photos sport such titles as “first there is a mountain”
— more poetic than descriptive.
The Nordic light crashes through the window like a diva in a china shop — pushing everything aside, demanding its presence be known.
It is the first thing a viewer notices when looking at Anna Ancher’s painting, “Sunlight in the Blue Room.” You barely see the golden-haired girl sitting in a pinafore on the edge of her chair: She tends to blend in with the furniture, which seems to be arranged to face the light streaming through a window, casting a block of lighter blue on an ocean-blue wall.
“Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” , now on view at the National Gallery of Art, is an engaging peek at messing around with photos from the 1840s through the 1980s. It is an exhibit that demands to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Most of the images are original, unfiltered by the obscuring gauze of reproduction, which many photographers relied on to hide the deception.
Storytelling was blackballed from visual art by the 20th-century avant-garde, but it’s been creeping back in. Although the old narratives haven’t returned, today’s artists are keen to recount lesser-known tales, or recombine familiar archetypes in unexpected ways. Both things happen in “Small Stories,” an intriguing show of precise, but not exactly realistic, paintings at McLean Project for the Arts.
Shafik Gabr’s Woodley Park home is filled with paintings once written off as paternal, even racist, images of the Middle East as seen through the eyes of 19th-century European artists — a world of daring snake charmers, menacing harem guards and exotic women.
It’s not every day you get invited to witness a museum destroy a work of art.
Exhibit traces his relationship with city he never sawThe funny thing is, Pablo Picasso never even set foot in Chicago, let alone anywhere else in the United States.