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Posted at 1:27 PM ET, 05/ 2/2007

Comings and Goings

By Julia Beizer

Photo and video works dominate this month's local exhibitions, but Sheeler-esque paintings, African art pieces and a couple of "body artists" make their way into local galleries as well.


"Fight HIV Your Way," an exhibition on view at Union Station through Saturday, is made up of intimate photographs taken by people whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS. Corporate sponsorship not your thing? Skip this show: it was organized by Bristol-Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical company that makes the HIV drug Reyataz.

Photographer Roman Vishniac is known for his photographs of European Jews on the eve of the Holocaust, but his more intimate photographs of daily life in Berlin remained relatively unknown until after his death. A selection of these shots go on view at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in "Roman Vishniac's Berlin." (Opening reception: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 3)

John Aquilino's "Room With a View"

If Charles Sheeler's palette were a little brighter, his work might have looked a bit like John Aquilino's. Gallery Neptune hosts a selection of Aquilino's works in "Urban Color," which is on view from May 3 to 26. (Receptions: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, May 5, and 6-9 p.m. Friday, May 11).

Yes, Baltimore's a far trip for us D.C. folk, but the Contemporary Museum's new show just might be worth it. Artist Joseph Grigely has rewritten Christmas carols to reflect the confusion that he, as a deaf person, feels on a daily basis. The video work on view in "Joseph Grigely: St. Cecilia," opening May 5, shows the Baltimore Choral Arts Society Chamber Choir singing these remixed carols.

On May 9, the National Museum of African Art opens "Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art." The show looks at the long tradtion of African artists incorporating script in their work.

Wolfgang Tillman's "paper drop (star)"

Artist Wolfgang Tillmans is widely recognized for taking photography to new heights with his striking abstractions and up-close-and-personal portraits. A survey exhibition opening at the Hirshhorn on May 10 features more than 300 works by the artist. Some are framed, and some aren't; all are worthy of close inspection.

Esther Shantari, a Ugandan refugee who took a National Geographic photo workshop, snapped this shot in 2006. (Copyright 2007 National Geographic)

In 2006, National Geographic photographers held workshops in a Ugandan refugee camps, teaching people aged 12 to 20 to tell their own stories through pictures. Sixty photographs taken by these refugees go on view at National Geographic headquarters on May 17 in "Photo Camp 2006: Uganda."

Showing off a 2001 donation, the American Art Museum hosts "The Prints of Sean Scully," a collection of 50 prints and portfolios by the artist who is most famous for his abstract paintings. The show opens May 18.

With its wayfaring systems, signage and Web projects, the family-owned Argentine design firm Diseno Shakespear blurs the line between commercial design and high art. An exhibit at the Katzen Arts Center showcasing the family business opens May 22.

Reception of the Month

In this still from a mockumentary video, artist Sam Gilliam and curator Jonathan Binstock discuss the fictional performance art duo, Ian and Jan.

Local artists Jeffry Cudlin and Meg Mitchell respond to the recent ColorField Remix mania with a upcoming parody exhibit at the D.C. Arts Center. Mitchell and Cudlin (who is also an arts reviewer for the City Paper) created the personas of Ian and Jan, supposedly an undiscovered duo of performance artists who exhibited alongside the Color School brush-wielders in the 1960s and '70s. The exhibition features photographs, drawings and videos of the couple in action. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a mockumentary video about the undiscovered duo featuring D.C. art superstars like Corcoran curator Jonathan Binstock, artist Sam Gilliam and Modern Art Notes blogger Tyler Green. The opening reception kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 11.


Bogie may always have Paris, but we won't have "Paris in Transition," the National Gallery's big exhibition of Parisian photography after May 6. The D.C. Arts Center's "American Icons Through Indigenous Eyes," a small but fascinating show of work by contemporary Native American artists, also closes that day.

The Anacostia Community Museum's poignant and historical exhibition on local marching bands closes on May 14.

Artomatic, the Phillips Collection's "Moving Pictures" exhibition and the Hirshhorn's Black Box screenings of Magnus Wallin's work end their runs on May 20.

By Julia Beizer  | May 2, 2007; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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