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  1. NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection opens September 30, 2016 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This exhibition is a collaboration with the famed Rubell Family Collection, and features work from 37 artists from 15 countries. Established in 1964 in New York City by Don and Mera Rubell, the Rubell Family Collection is one of the world’s largest privately owned contemporary art collections. The collection is exhibited within a 45,000-square-foot re-purposed Drug Enforcement Agency confiscated goods facility in Miami. The Rubells might be familiar to DC-ites, they are responsible for buying and renovating the Capitol Skyline Hotel in SW DC. In another interesting tidbit, Don is the brother of Steve Rubell, co-owner of the infamous nightclub, Studio 54. More great art coming to DC!
  2. Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist (born 1928) known for her interest in psychedelic color, repetition, and patterns, especially the polka-dot. Her best known works are mirrored rooms which explore infinite space, the rooms are typically cube shaped, clad with mirrors, water on the floor and flickering lights, and repeated objects (notably a polka-dot encrusted pumpkin). In 1977, Kusama checked herself into the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill where she eventually took up permanent residence and still lives and works today. In 2017, the Hirshhorn will be holding a major retrospective of her work, including 6 mirrored rooms (although their website doesn't currently have much info posted). More info from The City Paper. Kusama has a huge following and this will be a major, lines-around-the-block exhibition, which will garner international press coverage. Photo from the Kusama show at the Victoria Miro Gallery, London.
  3. I went to see the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Exhibition today, and stumbled upon a must for any sports fans at the National Portrait Gallery: "One Life: Babe Ruth" - a one-room exhibit featuring Babe Ruth from his days as a pitcher in the teens, up to his Farewell Address on Apr 27, 1947 at Yankee Stadium. Unless you're a Bambino fanatic, there will be things in this room that you've never before seen, including a 1930 cardboard box which was the package for a pair of Babe Ruth-brand underwear. I've seen many, many pictures of Ruth on the internet, but there's something about seeing them in person, some blown up to very large size, that makes the entire experience different. One takeaway for me was just how slender Ruth was during his Red Sox days - he always had a huge head, but it's almost as if Ruth was the first-ever bobble-head doll, for real. These don't have anything to do with the exhibition, but here are some other interesting webpages featuring photos of the Sultan of Swat: Jun 29, 2012 - "An American Icon: Extremely Rare Colour Photos of Babe Ruth Show the Bronx Bomber in a New Light" on dailymail.co.uk Jan 6, 2014 - "Babe Ruth: Color Photos of an Ailing Legend" by Ben Cosgrove on time.com Jul 11, 2014 - "Rare Photos of Babe Ruth" on si.com The exhibit is on the east (7th Street) side of the museum, on the first floor - unless you're a diehard fan, "One Life: Babe Ruth" isn't worth a special trip, but it's required viewing if you're already at the gallery.
  4. Remember the name Evelyn Hankins. She is curating one of the two exhibits I've seen in 2016 that I can comfortably say are world-class (the other being the "Conversations" Exhibit at the National Museum of African Art). The exhibit, "Robert Irwin: All The Rules Will Change" was, quite literally, an afterthought for me, as I had gone to the Hirshhorn to see the Linn Meyers exhibit, finished it in 30 minutes, and was determined to see one more thing before I left - it was sitting right in front of me, on the same floor (the second floor), so I figured, 'Why not?' It was one of the most serendipitous moves I've made in a long, long time, and I will remember this show for the rest of my life. It ends on Sep 5, 2016, and I *urge* readers of this thread to get to the Hirshhorn, see the Meyers exhibit first (as I described in the post), and then see the Irwin exhibit second, traversing the museum clockwise, since it goes in chronological order that way. The entire exhibition consists of a mere twenty pieces of art; yet, it's one of the most educational, enlightening, profound things I've ever seen in a museum - I cannot emphasize enough how great this is, and I promise you'll thank me if you go. It was *so refreshing* not to be overwhelmed by piece-after-piece, crammed into small spaces, which is what the vast majority of exhibitions do: This Irwin exhibition should be used as an exemplar for "How to arrange an art exhibition." Each of these pieces gets the space it so richly deserves - curators, if you're out there, *please* remember this: It was an absolute joy and delight to view this exhibit, and when I left, I wasn't fatigued in the least; I was exhilarated. Robert Irwin is one of the most notable American post-WWII artists, and you'll see why after seeing this show. I include these photos for the memory and educational benefit of people *who have already seen the exhibit*, and I urge you not to look at them before you go - it would be like reading the SparkNotes for a novel, before setting out to read the novel. You'll be doing yourself a disservice, and I cannot attempt to dissuade you from clicking on these photos strongly enough, as I do not wish to cheat you out of this magnificent experience. Please stop, and come back after you've gone - I promise you it's for the best. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** Don't go on unless you've already seen the show; if you have seen it, I hope these pictures bring back memories, and supplement your experience. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is on Independence Avenue and 7th Street NW, and the entrance is on Independence Avenue - admission is free. The exhibit is on the second floor, on the outer periphery; the Linn Meyers exhibit, to be seen first, is on the second floor, on the inner periphery: The late 1950's: Moving on from Abstract Expressionism into Hand-Held Paintings: Pick-Up Stick Paintings: 1961-1964 - Line Paintings: Dot Paintings (These will not show up in a picture): <--- I told you! I actually set off the alarm leaning forward to get a glimpse; the jovial guard said it happens all the time. 1966-1969 - Discs and Columns: "Square the Circle" (No Picture Taken, as its magnificence cannot be captured by a camera): An unedited interview from 1973 is near the exit:
  5. Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan feels a bit like an art exhibit meets public relations showcase, after all Turquoise Mountain receives funding from USAID. But at its heart, the exhibition tells the story of a new generation of Afghan artisans who are reviving traditional crafts [<-- read this article] to save the Murad Khani district in the old city of Kabul. The artisans have often overcome health problems, being refugees, Taliban restrictions on art, and of course the continued political unrest of Afghanistan. The exhibit features appearances by visiting Turquoise Mountain artisans, such as ceramicist Abdul Matin Malekzada, who spent the afternoon at his wheel making pots, vases, and bowls.
  6. From the Hirshhorn website: Linn Meyers (American, b. Washington, D.C., 1968; lives and works in Washington, D.C. - website) will create her largest work, “Our View From Here,” at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden this spring. The site-specific wall drawing, which stretches the entire circumference of the inner-circle galleries on the museum’s second level, more than 400 linear feet, will be on view May 12, 2016–May 14, 2017. The drawing is temporary and will be painted over at the end of the exhibition’s yearlong run. Meyers will discuss her work in a Meet the Artist talk Wednesday, May 25, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. “We are rethinking the ways our spaces can be used, throughout the museum,” said Melissa Chiu, the Hirshhorn’s director. “And we will be taking full advantage of the inner-circle galleries as venues for site-specific 360-degree artworks. Linn Meyers’ project will be the first in a series of exhibitions by some of the most exciting artists working today.” Meyers creates her works by hand-drawing thousands of closely spaced, rippling lines, each nested beside the one that came before it. Drawing alone for long hours each day with a type of marker often used by graffiti writers, she welcomes the imperfections that are a natural part of working without templates or taped lines. The resulting patterns flow and pulse with energy.
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