Handpicked Must-See Art at 3 DC Museums

Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers, 1875, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of Caillebotte's heirs through the intermediary of Auguste Renoir, 1894. © RMN-Grand Palais:Art Resource, NY

Gustave Caillebotte, The Floor Scrapers, 1875, oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, Gift of Caillebotte’s heirs through the intermediary of Auguste Renoir, 1894. © RMN-Grand Palais:Art Resource, NY

The ever-rotating walls of DC’s art museums have, again, been made anew this season with brand new and exciting exhibitions.

If you have any down time at all, you probably don’t spend it perusing every nook and cranny of the Smithsonian. So, I’ve combed the exhibitions at three museums—the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn—for must see exhibitions.

Here they are…

National Portrait Gallery

Dark Fields of the Republic – Now through March 13, 2016

A series of Civil War-era photographs by Alexander Gardner. These “shocking,” “dramatic” and “vivid” images include western landscapes, portraits of American Indians, battlefields and portraits of President Abraham Lincoln.

gardnerwidget

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition – Showing March 12, 2016 through January 8, 2017

This competition invites artists from across the country to submit their best portraits. They don’t have to be paintings and they don’t have to be traditional. As the website explains “The dazzling variety of media and diverse approaches to the exploration of “self” and “other” challenge preconceived notions of portraiture and expand visitors’ imaginations.” From among the many entries, 50 portraits will be chosen, with prizewinners announced at the opening.

I saw this exhibition that resulted from this competition several years ago and the pieces were hypnotizing and thought-provoking. It also really gives you a sense of how much profound art there is in the world. I’ve no doubt the 2016 exhibition will be worth seeing, too.

The Hirshhorn

Marvelous Objects – Showing October 29, 2015 through February 15, 2016

More than 100 surrealist sculptures from artists from around the globe—including France, Spain Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain and the US—produced during just a few decades in the 20th century: the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.

The works include Duchamp’s Why Not Sneeze, Rose Sélavy? (1921); Alberto Giacometti’s Woman with Her Throat Cut (1932) and The Invisible Object (Hands Holding the Void) (1935); Man Ray’s Object to be Destroyed (1933); and Salvador Dalí’s Venus de Milo with Drawers (1936).

Suspended Animation – Opens on February 10, 2016

An exhibition featuring six artists “who use digitally generated images as a tool to question conceptions of reality.” The artists—Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, and Agnieszka Polska—confront issues of privacy, digitized identity and the effects of the virtual world on real life.

The National Gallery of Art

Vermeer’s “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter” from the Rijksmuseum – Now through December 1, 2015

In 1995/1996, the National Gallery showed the exhibition Johannes Vermeer. Now, they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show with this stunning loaner (which was part of the Vermeer exhibition) from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Vermeer's "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter." Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Vermeer’s “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter.” Courtesy of Wikipedia.

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