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Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 01/ 4/2006

Arts Abound in 2006

By Julia Beizer

The D.C. art scene has so much going for it in 2006, it's hard to limit my picks to a simple few. Nevertheless, here are five upcoming events that I'm already excited about. Many, many more are likely to follow.

5) "Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective" at the Corcoran. There isn't much action in these photorealist canvases -- which depict sunny California in the 1960s and beyond -- but that's precisely what makes them so interesting. They capture eerily quiet moments in suburbia that we've all seen before. Bechtle's just asking us to look again, more closely.

4) "Listening to Our Ancestors" at the National Museum of the American Indian. Of all this new museum's inaugural exhibits, I was most taken with the recently closed "Native Modernism" sculpture/mixed-media exhibit. I have high hopes for this display of artifacts about Native American people from the Northwest Coast.

3) The reopening of the National Portrait Gallery. It's been a long time coming, but the Gallery is finally set to reopen its doors July 4 after a five-and-a-half-year renovation. I'm looking forward to seeing the upgraded building and checking out some of the opening exhibits -- even the William Wegman one, even though those photographs of weimaraners creep me out.

2) "Dada" at the National Gallery of Art. Opening right on the coattails of the museum's significant "Cezanne in Provence" exhibit, the Dada show promises to be different from a typical "pretty canvas" art exhibit. The Dada movement's confrontational underpinnings promise funny, engaging and satirical works in a variety of media.

1) The Capital Fringe Festival. With hundreds of performers and artists in venues across downtown, this 10-day festival of alternative art, music and theater is, for me, the most exciting event of the year. If D.C. really hopes to become a major arts destination, Fringe may help make it happen.


By Julia Beizer  | January 4, 2006; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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In response to your 3rd choice of Art Happenings in 2006 - It's not only the National Portrait Gallery that is opening on July 4th. It is a dual space being shared with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which is re-opening at the same time and the Wegman show is actually part of the American Art exhibit schedule - not the Portrait Gallery.

Posted by: Ann | January 5, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

If you liked the solar decathlon on the mall last fall -- be sure to check out the National Building Museum's exhibition "The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design" opening May 20.

Posted by: Julia | January 13, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

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