Metro Weekly

Museums and Galleries: Spring Arts Preview 2016

Art exhibitions in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Boyar Wedding Feast - Tazza from Konstantin Makovsky- The Tsar’s Painter - Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
Boyar Wedding Feast from Konstantin Makovsky- The Tsar’s Painter – Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

On the occasion of its 75th year in operation, the National Gallery of Art is celebrating its original benefactor, Paul Mellon, with a special exhibition. The National Air and Space Museum is also toasting one of its bigger donors, and even plans to rename its central exhibition space after Boeing. Another highlight is Hillwood’s spotlight on Japanese art deco through its next special exhibition. Yet perhaps the most intriguing, from an LGBT perspective, is one opening in June at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: Romaine Brooks sounds like quite the enigma, ahead of her time — and worth getting to know in ours.


800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Md.

  • The Big Hope Show — Over 25 artists offer works in various media that champion the radiant and transformative power of hope in this original and unabashedly idealistic exhibition, curated by Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder and director of the 20-year-old museum (Now-9/4)
Guess Who's Coming to CPAC: GOProud - By Scott Brooks
Guess Who’s Coming to CPAC: GOProud – By Scott Brooks


1231 Good Hope Road SE

  • Franson/Brooks: Cover Art — Metro Weekly art director Todd Franson and frequent contributing illustrator Scott Brooks display their best cover art for the magazine in this independent exhibit (5/27-7/15)


Great Hall
201 East Capitol St. SE

  • Shakespeare, Life of an Icon — In honor of the 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death, an exhibition that brings together some of the most important manuscripts and printed books related to his life and career (Now-3/27)
  • America’s Shakespeare — Through a selection of rare letters, costumes, books and more, exhibition reveals how Shakespeare’s words and ideas weave through America’s national story in all media, helping voice the important issues of the culture (4/7-7/24)
  •  Will & Jane — Examining the phenomena of literary celebrity and the connection fans feel through merchandise and pop culture, even referring to Shakespeare or Austen using their first names. Does today’s “Cult of Jane” resemble that of “Bardolatry” two hundred years ago? (8/6-11/6)
  • A First Folio of Shakespeare — The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, including the only source for 18 of his plays, is on permanent display (Ongoing)


514 10th St. NW

  • Lincoln and Leadership — Explores the qualities of good leadership through the lens of some of Abraham Lincoln’s key leadership principles and examines why Lincoln has remained relevant into the 21st Century (Ongoing)

[polldaddy poll=9341316]


701 21st St. NW

  • Stories of Migration: Contemporary Artists Interpret Diaspora — A juried and invitational exhibition through which 44 artists share personal and universal stories of migration (4/16-9/4)
  • Old Patterns, New Order: Socialist Realism in Central Asia — Examining the socialist realist art movement in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and other areas of Central Asia, pairing 20th Century paintings with examples of the traditional textiles they depict (Now-5/29)
  • For The Record: The Art of Lily Spandorf — Co-produced and curated with the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., the exhibit explores the artwork of the Austrian-born watercolorist and journalist who became known for news illustrations created for the Washington StarChristian Science Monitor and Washington Post (Now-7/3)
  • A Collector’s Vision: Creating the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection — A collection of maps and prints, rare letters, photographs and drawings documenting the history of Washington, D.C. and donated by Small in 2011 (Ongoing)
Tazza from Konstantin Makovsky: The Tsar’s Painter - Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum Gardens
Tazza from Konstantin Makovsky: The Tsar’s Painter – Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum Gardens


4155 Linnean Ave. NW

  • Konstantin Makovsky: The Tsar’s Painter — The romance and extravagance of boyar life in 19th Century Russia is portrayed in exquisite detail through this artist’s paintings as well as Hillwood’s displaying of similar 17th Century objects (Now-6/12)
  • Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920-1945 — Exploring how the Japanese interpreted the European style of art deco and made it their own, as demonstrated through various pieces in this traveling exhibition offering Washington a look at Japanese art deco for the first time (6/11-12/31)


700 Independence Ave. SW

  • Robert Irwin: All The Rules Will Change — One of the leading postwar American artists, a pioneer of California Light and Space art, with the first U.S. museum survey outside his home state in nearly 40 years (4/7-9/5)
  • At the Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection — The first exhibition in the recently renovated Third Level galleries features many favorite Hirshhorn artworks that have not been on view in years
  • Barbara Kruger: Belief+Doubt — Installation wraps space in text-printed vinyl, questioning ideology, social norms and consumption


800 F St. NW

  • Operation Spy — A one-hour, adrenaline-fueled immersive mission that is hardly your traditional exhibition
  • Spy In The City — Armed with a GPS device, museumgoers can embark on a high-stakes operation outside the museum’s neighborhood
  • Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains — In partnership with EON Productions, the James Bond film producers, this exhibit showcases over 100 artifacts and explores how the evildoers and their plots have changed to reflect the times and how Bond has influenced public perceptions of real espionage
  •  Permanent Exhibition — The museum is the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever on public display, spanning the history of the tradecraft around the globe, and telling stories of individual spies and their missions, tools and techniques, with interactive displays


1358 Florida Ave. NE.

  • Miss Pixie’s: 12×12 — Antique furniture purveyor Pixie Windsor curated this show of of mixed-media, music-inspired works on canvases the size of a record album by 17 local artists including Glynn Romero, Lisa Marie Thalhammer, Ellagwynn Niles, David Amoroso and Matt Herring (Now-4/10)


1234 9th St. NW

  • Takefumi Hori — Treasures (Now-3/20)
  • Ryan McCoy (3/25-4/24)
  • Gian Garofalo (4/28-5/29)
  • Rebecca Coles (6/2-7/3)
  • Laura Berman (7/7-8/7)
  • ReFresh VI (8/18-9/18)
  • Jason Wright (9/22-10/23)
  •  Print Show (10/27-11/27)
  • Michelle Peterson-Albandoz (12/1-1/8/17)


5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda

  • Timeless Transformation: Kimonos, Prints & Textiles — Strathmore celebrates spring with a National Cherry Blossom Festival-affiliated exhibition focused on Japanese garments and the artwork they inspire (Now-4/17)
  • Kaleidoscopes: 200 Years — The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society’s juried exhibition celebrates 200 years since the terrific tube’s invention and features kaleidoscope designers and superb kaleidoscope-inspired art (4/23-6/5)
  • Shelley Lee Marie: Atmosphere — Mixed media artist exhibits vibrant-hued, nature-inspired works that connect to the human body (4/23-6/5)


Independence Ave at 6th St. SW

  • Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall — Museum’s central exhibition space is undergoing major renovation but will re-open on the institution’s 40th anniversary to the day (Opens 7/1)
  • Art of the Airport Tower — Smithsonian photographer Carolyn Russo’s journey examining contemporary and historic air traffic control towers (Now-November)
  •  The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age – The 1903 Wright Flyer, the world’s first successful airplane, serves as the centerpiece of this exhibition (Ongoing)


401 F St. NW

  • Luminous Landscapes: Photographs by Alan Ward (Now-9/5)
  • The New American Garden — The Washington-based firm Oehme, van Sweden & Associates revolutionized American landscape architecture with lushly planted gardens with ornamental grasses and perennials — relatively low-maintenance and tapestry-like to be viewed in all four seasons (Now-5/1)
  • House & Home — Surveying houses both familiar and surprising, through past and present –- including a same-sex couple –- challenging ideas about what it means to live at home in America (Ongoing)


3rd Street and Constitution Avenue NW

  • Three Centuries of American Prints from the National Gallery of Art — Timed to coincide with the gallery’s 75th anniversary, this first comprehensive exhibition of American prints to encompass three centuries will highlight some 160 works from the collection (4/3-7/24)
  • In Celebration of Paul Mellon — Another 75th anniversary-related exhibition, featuring 80 of the finest pastels, watercolors, drawings, prints and illustrated books selected from one of the gallery’s leading benefactors (5/8-9/18)
  • Louise Bourgeois: No Exit — Artist’s ties to surrealism and existentialism is explored through 17 works on paper and four sculptures (Now-5/15)


1145 17th St. NW

  • Crocs: Ancient Predators in a Modern World — Exhibition explores the fascinating history and biology of crocodiles as well as providing Immersive hands-on experiences, from listening to crocodile calls to creating 3-D animations of these ancient predators (Now-5/8)
  • Photo Ark — An exhibition featuring many iconic images of the world’s animals, part of a multiyear project to create portraits of every last one before they disappear (11/5-4/10)
  • Pristine Seas: The Ocean’s Last Wild Places — Featuring stunning photography and behind-the-scenes expedition images from the Arctic to the tropics as well as an immersive underwater video wall (Now-3/27)
  • Jerusalem 3D — Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch narrates this film, the first-ever large format aerial footage of the Old City and throughout the Holy Land (9/26-3/31)


1400 Constitution Ave. NW

  • Artifact Walls — Art Pottery and Glass in America 1880s-1920s — Highlighting the design movement that embraced the ideals of superior craftsmanship, naturalistic ornamentation and living with beauty in the home (Now-4/24/17)
  •  Hart-Celler Act — Documenting the watershed immigration act passed in 1965 (Now-5/1)
  •  George Sidney: Creativity and Innovation in Golden Age Hollywood — Exploring the career and innovation of award-winning director of such films as Bathing Beauty and Anchors Away (Now-3/31)
  • American Stories – An engaging mix of artifacts telling the various stories of the country’s history, from the Pilgrims’ arrival to the historic 2008 election (Ongoing)


10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

  • Nature’s Best Photography: Best of the Best — Selected from nearly 500,000 images submitted by photographers around the globe over the past 20 years, courtesy of the Windland Smith Rice International Awards (Now-Fall)
  • African Elephant — Learn about elephant behavior and the threats facing elephants today
  • Primordial Landscapes: Iceland Revealed — Photographer Feodor Pitcairn and poet Ari Trausti Guðmundsson reveal a land of fire, ice, hardy life and natural beauty (Now-April 2017)
  • National Geographic Into Africa: The Photography of Frans Lanting (Now-Summer 2016)
  • The Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World — As it develops a new National Fossil Hall, this exhibition is one place for the museum to display its ancient bones collection (Now-2018)
  • Mud Masons of Mali — Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mali, is famous for its spectacular architecture thanks to its centuries-old tradition of masons, whose work is highlighted through archival and contemporary photographs and early engravings (Indefinite)


4th Street and Independence Avenue SW

  • E Mau Ke Ea: The Sovereign Hawaiian Nation — An examination of the contested history of the Hawaiian Nation and the prospects for its future (Now-1/17)
  • Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist — The first major retrospective of this citizen of Cherokee Nation and one of the world’s most celebrated artists of Native American ancestry (Now-9/18)
  • The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire — One of the monumental engineering achievements in history, this network of more than 20,000 miles crossed mountains and tropical lowlands, rivers and desserts, linking the Inka capital Cusco with the farthest reaches of its empire — and still serves Andean communities today in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile (Now-6/1/18)
  • Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations — Tells the story of the treaties signed between early U.S. leaders and influential Native diplomats (Now-Spring 2020)
  • Our Universes: Traditional Knowledge Shapes Our World — Organized around the solar year, this exhibition focuses on indigenous cosmologies, or the worldviews and philosophies related to the creation and order of the universe that guide American Indian communities (Now-April 2019)
  • Return to a Native Place: Algonquian Peoples of the Chesapeake — A look at the Native peoples of our region, told through photos, maps, ceremonial and everyday objects, and interactive displays (Ongoing)


1250 New York Ave. NW

  • She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World — More than 70 photographs made in various settings by pioneering women with roots in Iran or the Arab world, probing ideas about personal identity, vital political issues, changing cultural landscapes and preconceptions (4/8-7/31)
  • Alison Saar in Print (6/10-10/2)
  • Womanimal: Zine Art by Caroline Paquita — Brooklyn-based artist, zinester and founder of Pegacorn Press (Now-5/13)


8th and F Streets NW

  • The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today — Every three years artists from across the country are invited to investigate the art of portrayal through this competition, and the resulting juried exhibition of finalists showcases excellence and innovation in contemporary portraiture through a variety of media (3/12-1/8/17)
  • Kevin Spacey as President Francis J. Underwood (On view now)
  • Hollywood and Time: Celebrity Covers — Approximately 35 Hollywood moguls and celebrities whose vision and talents carried us to different eras and exotic places through the cover of Time (4/1-10/2)
  • Lincoln’s Contemporaries — Who were Abraham Lincoln’s contemporaries? Many fascinating people beyond the politicians and the military leaders of the Civil War (Opening May 13)
  • From Token to Ornament: Indian Peace Medals and the McKenney-Hall Portraits — Thomas L. McKenney, a superintendent of Indian affairs back when the U.S. had such a post, commissioned artist Charles Bird King to make paintings of Native leaders when they visited the capital, often portrayed proudly wearing peace medals that had been bestowed on them by U.S. presidents beginning with George Washington (Now-6/5)
  • Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze — 53 portraits of luminaries who have been top in their fields, from Oprah Winfrey to Brad Pitt, Katy Perry to Sonia Sotomayor, all recent additions to the museum’s collection (Now-7/10)
  • Nelson Shanks: The Four Justices — Artist’s monumental group portrait, a tribute to the four female justices who have served on the U.S. Supreme Court(Now-10/16)
  • Mathew Brady’s Photographs of Union Generals (Now-5/8)


555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

  • CNN Politics Campaign 2016: Like, Share, Elect (Opens 4/15)
  • Inside Today’s FBI — An update to the Newseum’s popular FBI exhibit explores how the agency fights crime in the age of global terrorism and cybercrime, with news stories and dozens of new artifacts (Indefinitely)
  • Make Some Noise: Students and the Civil Rights Movement — Exploring the new generation of student leaders that emerged in the 1960s to fight segregation and fight for civil rights (Indefinitely)
  • First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets (Indefinitely)
  • 9/11 Gallery Sponsored by Comcast (Permanent)
  • Berlin Wall Gallery (Permanent)


1600 21st St. NW

  • William Merritt Chase: Modern Master — A retrospective, nearly 100 years since his death, exploring the interrelationships in Chase’s work across subject and media (6/4-9/11)
  • Intersections: Bettina Pousttchi: Double Monuments — Berlin-based artist is interested in altering architectural buildings and monuments as indicators of the past and mediums of remembrance (6/9-10/2)
  • Seeing Nature: Landscape Masterworks from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection — Exploring the evolution of European and American landscape art through 39 masterpieces spanning five centuries (Now-5/8)


Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW

  • Connections: Contemporary Craft from the Permanent Collection — Installation highlighting new acquisitions, updating the presentation of crafts and decorative arts for the 21st century (Opens Summer 2016)
  • Visions and Revisions: Renwick Invitational 2016 — Biennial series intended to celebrate artists deserving of wider national recognition (9/9-1/8/17)
  • Wonder — Nine leading contemporary artists, including Gabriel Dawe, Patrick Dougherty and Maya Lin, have taken over different areas for site-specific installations, the first building in the U.S. designed expressly as an art museum (Now-5/8 for second-floor galleries, Now-7/10 first-floor)


1050 Independence Ave. SW

  • Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater — A visual and aural journey, through photography and video, of a man observing economic and urban change in Saudi Arabia (Opens 3/19-9/18)
  • Painting with Words: Gentleman Artists of the Ming Dynasty — Poetry, painting and calligraphy were known as the “three perfections” among the Chinese literati during the Ming reign, and the Freer/Sackler is home to one of the best collections of works with these creative expressions (4/16-7/24)
  • Chinamania — An interrogation of the enduring craze for Chinese blue-and-white ceramics which started in London two centuries ago (7/9-1/2/17)
  • The Lost Symphony: Whistler and the Perfection of Art (Now-5/30)
  • Peacock Room REMIX: Darren Waterston’s Filthy Lucre — Painter reimagines James McNeill Whistler’s famed room as a decadent ruin collapsing under the weight of its own creative excess (Now-2017)
  • Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan — Charting the success of a decade-old British nonprofit that has helped revive Afghanistan’s proud cultural legacy by turning a former Kabul slum into a vibrant cultural and economic center (Now-1/29/17)
  • Perspectives: Lara Baladi — Egyptian-Lebanese artist experiments with photography, as captured in Oum el Dounia (The Mother of the World), a large-scale tapestry based on a photographic collage (Now-6/5)


8th and F Streets NW

  • Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions — An unprecedented look into this D.C.-based artist’s inspirations, methods and transformative process through the display of drawings and prints as well as 12 elegant, playful sculptures (5/27-9/5)
  • Romaine Brooks — A display of 50 paintings and drawings from the permanent collection focused on an artist who struck an androgynous look and explored gender and sexuality in her work, something very rarely done in her time a century ago (6/17-10/2)
  • Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten — Many central figures in the Harlem Renaissance were captured by this photographer, often when they were young and not-famous (8/26-3/19/17)
  • Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty — One of the foremost photographers of the 20th Century, known for his iconic fashion, portrait and still-life images that appeared in Vogue (Now-3/20)
  • Crosscurrents: Modern Art from the Sam Rose and Julie Walters Collection — Exploring the “river of intellectual and artistic commerce that flowed both ways between America and Europe” in the 20th Century, with painting and sculpture works by Americans including Alexander Calder, David Hockney and Georgia O’Keeffe, and Europeans including Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro (Now-4/10)
  • Measured Perfection: Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave — Featuring work by one of the most innovative sculptors of the 19th Century (Now-2/19/17)


901 New York Ave. NW

  • Figure 8 Plus 1: Exploring the Human Form — A show of nine Touchstone artists working to flesh out the human form through photography and paintings (3/4-27)


1404 P St. NW

  • No Sharps, No Flats — A group sound-art show featuring over 30 original compositions by local musicians, united solely in their musical key of C Major, phasing in and out of harmony and rhythm through a collaborative and somewhat random orchestration by the sculpture and the user (3/17-4/30)
  • Southern Constellations — Third exhibition in a four-part “Do You Know Where Your Art Comes From?” series in collaboration with American University’s Visiting Artist Program; this round focuses on the work of six artists born or based in the Southern U.S.(4/2-5/29, Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Mass. Ave. NW)

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!