‘Pump Me Up’ at the Corcoran Gallery of Art

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.

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Gallery opening of the week: ‘Process: Photography’

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.

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Wolfgang Laib’s ‘Wax Room’: Enigmatic permanent installation at the Phillips

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.

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At Civilian Art Projects, photographers present interesting images without explication

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.

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‘A World Apart: Anna Ancher and the Skagen Art Colony’ opens at Museum of Women in the Arts

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.

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Seeing is unbelieving

“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.

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At McLean Project for the Arts, tales go spinning into a world of strange

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.

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