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Posted at 4:55 PM ET, 01/ 5/2007

Forecast on the 2007 Art Scene

By Julia Beizer

2006 is a hard act to follow. The Reynolds Center opened. The "Boating Party" returned to the Phillips. Dada came and conquered. But just because 2007 has a lot to live up to doesn't mean it has nothing to offer. There will be big-time exhibitions in the museums, gems in our local galleries and the occasional public art extravaganza, but so far, these upcoming art events top my 2007 to-do list:

1) No Time Like the Present: Artomatic -- the come-one-come-all biannual art show -- was unable to secure a venue for 2006. The Artomatic folks are still looking for a big venue for 2007, but in the meantime, a bunch of Bethesda galleries have agreed to exhibit pieces by local artists who submitted pictures of their work to the forum. Exhibits and events continue into February, but the best way to see the bulk of what Artomatic artists have to offer is wandering around the Bethesda Art Walk on Friday, Jan. 12.

These art exhibits aren't exactly in the everybody's-welcome spirit. Gallery owners got to choose which works to show from the 290 artists who submitted work for consideration. Even so, I'm glad Artomatic was able to work this out. I've met several local artists who loved being a part of the Artomatic free-for-all and so I'm glad the organizers were able to put something together early in the new year. Here's hoping the freewheelin' fair returns in its entirety in 2007.

2) The Color of Passion: Tucked away in Kalorama, the Textile Museum doesn't get much love. But if there's one reason I'll be sure to stop by next month, "Red" is it. You guessed it -- the warm, sexy, powerful color is the the theme. This exhibition will display 2,000-year-old textiles, along with AIDS ribbons, ball gowns and Chinese army badges.

3) Explorer's Plunder: It sounds ridiculous to say that a museum that specializes in ancient Asian art has generated a lot of recent buzz, but in the case of the Sackler Museum, it's true. The museum's "In the Beginning" exhibit of ancient bibles generated record crowds this fall. Come June, the museum can expect those crowds again. "Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries," an exhibit of objects collected by the early Portuguese explorers, is the largest in the museum's history and promises to be an inside peek into how East and West mingled in that era.

4) Muse on News: The Newseum's new home on Pennsylvania Avenue is set to open this fall. When the Newseum's old building in Arlington opened in 1997, it was one of the most engaging museums around. I'm looking forward to see what exhibits the museum comes up with this time -- especially because interactive technologies have become increasingly important to both museums and journalism since the Newseum's Arlington space closed in 2002.

5) Night at the Museum: Maybe it's just a pipe dream, but I'd love to see some museums and galleries follow the Reynolds Center's lead by extending operating hours into the evening. Washington's wonderful institutions shouldn't just be open for tourists. We working stiffs should get to see them too.


By Julia Beizer  | January 5, 2007; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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Years ago, when my family first started coming to D.C. for weekend trips, museums did stay open late -- if memory serves, Air & Space was open as late as 9 in the summer. No idea how practical that would be these days, but there's precedent.

I'm always glad for foot traffic at Sackler, too. Its exhibitions the past few years have been just as good as the National Gallery's, if not better, and the Sackler and Freer had the most purity of purpose among the Smithsonian museums until American Art re-opened. I LOVED Hokusai last year.

Posted by: Tom | January 7, 2007 2:58 AM | Report abuse

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