On the Walls in 2008
Great exhibits are surely on the horizon in 2008, but the real highlight of the year has to be the opening of three new (or recently shuttered) museum spaces.
In fact, we might as well call 2008 the year of the Washington Museum Opening. The Newseum's gallant new building is expected to open in the spring. The long-awaited Capitol Visitor Center on the Hill is on tap for an opening in the fall. And the revamped National Museum of American History is slated for a summer reopening.
Unfortunately, all this exciting news comes with an asterisk. Construction is a tricky business and both the Newseum and the CVC have already suffered opening delays (sometimes severe ones). Fingers are crossed for 2008, though. This could be the year.
But it's what's on museum walls that really matters, so that's why I'll turn to exhibits for the second half of this preview post. Read on for info about ancient Afghan treasures, portraits of hip-hop legends and works that question the fine line between real and make-believe.
-As The Post reported Dec. 21, the National Gallery of Art will host an exhibition of ancient art and artifacts from Afghanistan. The centuries-old work -- much of which glitters in gold -- showcases the diverse cultures that converged in the country between 2500 B.C. and 100 A.D. Expect Mesopotamian, Greek, Roman, Indian and Chinese motifs in the works on view. The exhibition opens in May, but you can preview it with this photo gallery.
-With all the hype surrounding new technologies in art making, the Hirshhorn's upcoming two-part exhibit, "The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image" seems particularly timely. Video works and media installations in each part of the exhibition call into question where reality ends and art or "make believe" begins. The first part of the exhibition opens in February. The second part takes over in June.
-The National Portrait Gallery is a great place to visit, but it isn't known for being particularly hip -- something about all those stern-looking founding father-types. But, the upcoming exhibition "Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporay Portraiture" aims to paint a different picture when it opens in February. David Scheinbaum's photographs of Public Enemy, De La Soul and other hip-hop groups will be on view alongside Kehinde Wiley's stylized portrait paintings of LL Cool J, Ice T and others. Expect a lively display as well: graffiti-style murals and a Nikki Giovanni poem will decorate the exhibition walls. Three video self-portraits by Jefferson Pinder --
an artist who earned a rave review from Post gallery critic Jessica Dawson -- will also be on view.
-Architecture exhibitions rarely excite me, but the Phillip Johnson show at the Kreeger seems worth a visit. Starting in March, selections from Johnson's own art collection will be on view alongside models and drawings of his architectural work in the 1990s and 2000s. Besides, what better way to appreciate the architect's work than by strolling though a museum he designed?
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