Comings and Goings
December isn't a super busy month on the local art calendar, but a few notable shows give you reason to leave your house. Get the details on artists envisioning the future, elephants wielding brushes and a DJ-infused reception after the jump.
As someone who feels kind of cheated that she doesn't get to have a hoverboard, flying car or any of the other amenities promised in films from the 1980s, I'm completely intrigued by "The New Future," an exhibit at the DC Arts Center this month. Artists from D.C., Brooklyn, London and Portland, Ore., imagine what the new future -- as in, today's future -- will look like and use video, installation, drawing and photography to illustrate it. Some of the visions are apocalyptic; others are tongue-in-cheek. Sunglasses will be given out at the opening reception, which takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.
Greek and Persian themes mingle in a new Sackler Gallery exhibit called "Wine, Worship and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani." The exhibit, which opened Dec. 1, deals with artifacts unearthed in modern-day Georgia that show early links between the Greeks and the people of Colchis. They also provide some of the earliest evidence of the art of winemaking.
This Saturday, the Phillips Collection celebrates the opening of "The Art of Healing." On view are 32 works inspired by masterpieces in the Phillips Collection that have been painted by patients at Children's National Medical Center (ages 5 to 19). Some of the young artists will speak at the 11 a.m. reception on Saturday, Dec. 8.
The Arlington Arts Center kicks of a suite of winter exhibitions Friday, Dec. 7, with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. "Hope and Fear," one of the four exhibitions on view, features local artists' works that deal with themes of optimism and forboding doom in equal measure.
Reception of the Month
The new Alexandria gallery Art Whino has had more of a party vibe than a gallery one in its first few months on the scene. This month's Dec. 14th opening features more of the same. DJ Tom B and vocalist/laptop artist Yoko K will perform in separate spaces in the gallery throughout the evening. The gallery will also show nearly 60 works by the graffiti-inspired West Coast painter Justin Lovato and more than 200 works from its permanent gallery of lowbrow art from around the world. There's no cover, and the cash bar serves beer and wine from 6 p.m. until midnight.
If you needed proof of the maxim that elephants never forget, look no further than Rosslyn's new Hotel Palomar. On view in a conference room on the fourth floor is a selection of paintings by elephants who have been trained to paint certain shapes and patterns. The completed canvases are both abstract and designed. Is it a gimmick? Sure, but it's also fascinating. Visitors can just wander in off the street and ask to see the show, but it's probably most worth a visit during the daily wine hour from 5 to 6 p.m. During this time, visitors can stroll into the lounge area, buy a drink and explore six or eight works than have been brought out for display. The exhibit closes Dec. 29.
The current exhibit at Randall Scott Gallery is one well worth seeing before it closes Dec. 8. Lori Nix's photographs of apocalyptic diorama scenes are strangely engrossing. Why are all those vaccuum cleaners in a windswept room? What used to exist in that aquarium-like space? Coupled with Dane Picard's video of moving human hands that look like a herd of running horses, this exhibit has been one of my favorite gallery shows of the season.
I knew exactly what I was getting into before I visited Botero's Abu Ghraib exhibit at the Katzen, but I really didn't understand the power of the exhibit until I walked in. Not for the thin-skinned, this exhibit of large-scale paintings and drawings that reflect on the photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib packs a punch that leaves you thinking about the scandal long after you leave the building. It closes on Dec. 30.
"Art of the American Snapshot," the National Gallery's exhibit of photographs from 1888 through 1978, closes on Dec. 31. The photographs are tiny, but worth exploring; they celebrate the beauty in the mundane realities of our everyday lives. This photo gallery offers just a small slice of the 200 works on display.
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