Fringe for the Eyes
Nearly every kind of performance art will invade downtown over the next 10 days in conjunction with the much-anticipated Capital Fringe Festival, which kicks off today. The visual arts are not a huge part of Fringe festivities, but three events give a taste of offbeat contemporary art in Washington.
I'm most looking forward to "Watch This Space (Get Painted)," a 24-hour painting project by local artists Dana Ellyn and Matt Sesow. The artists will complete a mural on the Warehouse building between 3 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday, and the event corresponds with the 24-hour showing of Unmapped at the Warehouse.
Ellyn and Sesow are in the midst of 31 Days in July, a project they have taken on every year since 2003. For each day in July, the artists paint a canvas inspired by news on the front page of that day's Washington Post. (Examples of their work so far are posted here and here). Though the artists haven't planned what exactly will end up on the Warehouse wall, they expect the work might reflect the 31 Days project. Graffiti stencil elements might also make their way into the project; it is on the side of a building after all.
Also from Sesow and Ellyn is a project called "Banners From the Fringe." For this exhibition -- on view at the surprisingly attractive exhibition space at the Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership -- Sesow, Ellyn and about 20 of their artist friends created art on top of old streetpost banners donated by the Downtown Business Improvement District. Despite the fact that all of the artists had to work in basically the same framework -- skinny or fat vertical rectangular canvases -- the result is an incredibly diverse show.
Finally, Art-O-Matic has organized a showing of 50 works by local artists in a handful of businesses along the Seventh Street Corridor: HNTB Architecture, Olsson's Books and Records, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre and Avenue. This display is known as "Visual Fringe." Many works are on display in windows near the performance spaces, so theater-goers can peek in at the art after taking in the Fringe.
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