The Holocaust Museum: A timeline

Decades ago, organizers of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum determined that they would render both the broad sweep and horrifying detail of one of the 20th century’s most incomprehensible crimes against humanity: the Nazis’ slaughter of more than 11 million Jews, Slavs, Poles, Gypsies and homosexuals. Through artifacts, testimonials, art and architecture, the museum would be narrative and groundbreaking, a place to memorialize and educate.

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As the Holocaust Museum marks its 20th anniversary ‘an unlikely voice’ speaks up, and out

Rebecca Dupas always begins her tours of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum with questions for students. “Why do we start with this image?” she’ll ask at the fourth-floor entrance to the permanent exhibition. Standing before photos from the 1945 liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, she points out shadows, juxtapositions, paradoxes — a half-dressed figure with the haggard face of a middle-age man and the spindly legs of a child.

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Alex Mayer: Hard-edged sculptures that aren’t boxed in

With his woodworking skills and orderly aesthetic, Alex Mayer could be a cabinetmaker. Yet some of the most intriguing pieces in “Alex Mayer: New Work,” at George Mason University’s Fine Art Gallery, are little more than the idea of a bureau. The D.C. artist has constructed dressers merely from lines drawn on white walls, but they’re embellished by actual knobs — and, in one case, black stockings that feign to hang from a outlined drawer’s nonexistent opening.

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‘Over, Under, Next’ at the Hirshhorn: Art review

Just about a century ago came one of those seemingly small innovations in art that unleashes epochal forces of transformation. In 1912, Georges Braque began using paper and fabric on the surface of his paintings, inaugurating not just a technique, but a form, the “pasted paper” work. The surface of the image was suddenly a thing to be played with, and a host of ancient assumptions, and categories, began to fall apart. A new exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum explores the viral spread of this one very small idea into new media, from collage and assemblage to montage and installation pieces.

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The Gate: Smithsonian blossoms

The number of visitors to the Smithsonian museums always spikes in the week-long spring break that usually happens the week before or the week of Easter, according to Smithsonian officials. Add Washington’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20-April 14) in that mix, and you have nothing but springtime throngs. Here’s a look at how this year’s numbers compare.

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For Mike Franklin, the art’s the thing in Hyattsville

Mike Franklin was one of the first to see the potential of downtown Hyattsville amid the clutter of car dealerships, fast-food joints and laundromats.

His Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store (complete with penny candy, children’s books and toys) has been a fixture on Route 1 for more than two decades. Almost single-handedly, Franklin created an oasis of civility in a landscape where for years neither fine dining nor fun dining was easy to find.

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National Museum of the American Indian’s ‘Grand Procession’ of Plains and Plateau dolls

Under glass cases, the Native American dolls emit a quiet power.

The Crow woman, in the doll-figurine sculpture “Maternal Journey” by Rhonda Holy Bear, sits bone straight on a painted mare, pulling viewers closer with the meticulousness of her bright red dress covered in imitation elk ivory. A sheath at the base of her back holds a tiny pocket knife. From her right hip hangs a baby cradled in blue glass beads so tiny you would swear no human hands could possibly have stitched them.

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Gallery event of the week: ‘Mixtopias’

On Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., Rockville’s VisArts will host a reception for two thematically linked exhibitions. Upstairs in the Kaplan Gallery, you’ll find “Mixtopias,” a group show organized around the theme of hybrid identities (both cultural and personal). Curated by artist Fletcher Mackey, it will include work by Mequitta Ahuja — whose art is now featured at the National Portrait Gallery — as well as by Hoesy Corona, Hayoon Jay Lee, Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Carolina Mayorga and Jennifer Tam.

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