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Posted at 7:42 PM ET, 01/30/2008

Comings and Goings

By Julia Beizer

Japanese themes pop up again this month with the Kennedy Center's Japan! Culture + Hyperculture festival. Concerts, performances and screenings make for a complete cultural program, but several small exhibits lend a feast for the eyes. I'm most looking forward to "Robotopia Rising," a geeky exploration of the art and science of robotics; "Everlasting Flowers," Mika Ninagawa's photographic still-lifes; and "Dots Obsession," Yayoi Kusama's polka-dotted installation.

But there's also plenty of eye candy outside the Kennedy Center's walls this month. Info on a flowery installation, a photography show and a second chance to see a great exhibit follows after the jump.

The Botanic Garden's orchid show is an annual tropical treat in wintry Washington. Green thumbs can learn more than they ever wanted to know about the delicate flowers, but even casual visitors will find something to love in the rows of pretty plants. The exhibit opens on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Meridian International Center offers a second chance to those who missed Zenith Gallery's fabulous Freedom Place Collection show last fall. Starting Friday, Feb. 8, the center's Cafritz Galleries play host to "Five American Voices: Selections From the Freedom Place Collection," a show featuring 30 works by Romare Bearden, Benny Andrews, Robert Freeman, Alma Woodsey Thomas and Richard Yarde.

Want even more Robert Freeman? A solo show of his recent colorful, gestural work will be on view at Zenith from Feb. 8 through March 9. (Receptions for the Zenith show: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, and 3-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9)

Adrian Davis of Fort Collins, Colo. submitted "Wild and Free" to the Fraser Gallery's International Photography Competition.

Fraser Gallery owner Catriona Fraser says she was less than thrilled with the quality of the submissions to her annual International Photography Competition. But from the looks of some of the finalists, she was able to sniff out several true gems. Gauzy sepia-toned images, black-and-white portraits, stark landscapes and brilliant color works are on view in the show, which opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8.

Thomas Hart Benton's "Moonlight on the Osage" (1938). (Copyright T.H. Benton and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts/UMB Bank Trustee/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY)

The Phillips Collection, long known for its esteemed permanent collection, celebrates the newest additions to the family with "Degas to Diebenkorn: The Phillips Collects," an exhibition opening Saturday, Feb. 9. Recently acquired pieces by Degas and Calder are on view alongside work by artists who are new to the collection, including Ansel Adams, Ellsworth Kelly and Jasper Johns.

District artist Reuben Breslar eschews color in "Black/White," a solo show of his paintings and mixed-media work at the Athenaeum. Binders full of the artist's source material are also on view, giving viewers a peek into his process. The exhibition opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.

"Recognize!," the National Portrait Gallery's tribute to hip-hop, opens Feb. 8. Check out photographic, painted and video portraits on artfully decorated walls -- then stand in line to see the Colbert painting.

Also newly on view in the Reynolds Center is "A Thousand Kisses," an exhibition for those getting into the Valentine's Day spirit. The Archives of American Art display showcases love letters penned by artists.

Still from Kelly Richardson's "Exiles of the Shattered Star." (Courtesy of the artist and the Hirshhorn)

"The Cinema Effect," the Hirshhorn's two-part show exploring film's influence on contemporary artmaking, kicks off on Feb. 14. The first exhibition, "Dreams," deals with film's ability to transport the viewer to another place.

Georgetown Park Mall becomes a glittering gallery late in the month when the international glass art show "Glass3" opens. Artomatic, the Georgetown Business Improvement District and other organizations have teamed up to organize the three-week exhibition, which will feature artists from the local area and as far away as Sunderland, England. It opens to the public on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Reception of the Month

Mary Chiaramonte's "Living Actors That Play Dead." (Courtesy of Long View Gallery)

I usually choose an opening reception with a great DJ or some other perk to fill this space, but this month, it's the quality of the art that hooked me. From 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, Long View Gallery celebrates the opening of a show of work by Jessie Mann and Mary Chiaramonte, two of the region's most talented female artists.

With her heavily textured paintings, Chiaramonte taps into a feeling of almost suicidal despair that resonates throughout the room. Drawings and cut-out works by the West Virginia-based artist will also be on view. Jessie Mann's eerie performance photographs made for a great show at Adamson last year. The photographs are absent at Long View, but the artist's Pollock-esque drip paintings will surely prove to be a more than able replacement.


Feb. 3 marks the end of the road for "Matisse: Painter as Sculptor," a Baltimore exhibition that earned raves from Post critics. Also closing that day is "Over the Top, a Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition on American posters from World War I.

"Ikebana," the Art League's week-long show of Japanese flower arrangements, closes Feb. 4. Expect a full slew of programs throughout the weekend.

Feb. 10 is the last day to learn the history lessons in the Portrait Gallery's "Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence." The Building Museum's exhibition on Marcel Breuer closes a week later, on Feb. 17.

Wine, Worship and Sacrifice," a gold-laden exhibition at the Sackler, closes on Feb. 24.

By Julia Beizer  | January 30, 2008; 7:42 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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The Matisse, painter as sculptor exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art contained only one potential sculpture by Henri Matisse. The other 59 were non-disclosed reproductions with nine being outright -FAKES-.

The Washington Post articles concerning this exhibit exposed, at best, the lack of connoisseurship by those reporters who wrote them.

For documentation to these contentious issues of authenticity, please cut & paste this link:

Gary Arseneau
artist, creator of original lithographs, scholar & author

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