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Posted at 2:17 PM ET, 10/ 1/2009

Up Next: October Arts

By Stephanie Merry

New exhibitions are spanning the globe this month with works from Africa, Japan, the Middle East and other locales on display at local museums and galleries. Better yet, a slew of famous faces are coming to town to discuss their own work and the art of others.


Tim Gunn comes to town to discuss a new exhibition at the Hirshhorn. (Virginia Sherwood)

Irreverent artist William T. Wiley's work will be on display in two local exhibitions. The American Art Museum's show, "What's It All Mean" includes Wiley's artistic incarnation of a pinball machine, while Marsha Mateyka gallery's "Trust Us for Just Us" includes new watercolors. ("What's It All Mean": Oct. 2-Jan. 24; "Trust Us for Just Us": Oct. 2-Nov. 14)

To usher in "Edward Burtynsky: Oil," the Corcoran is inviting the artist and ecological economist William Rees (whom you can thank for the term "ecological footprint") to discuss the show. The photos in the exhibition include shots of a landscape populated with countless rigs in California, pipelines bisecting a forest in Alberta and the chaotic lines of a refinery against a gray sky in New Brunswick, Canada. Meanwhile, Rees will be talking about ways to live more sustainably and the effect human dependency on oil has on the environment. (discussion: 4 p.m. Oct. 3; exhibition: Oct. 3-Dec. 13)

Lovable "Project Runaway" mentor Tim Gunn is coming to town to show people how he learned to "make it work." The former student of Anne Truitt will moderate a discussion about her art in conjunction with the opening day of the Hirshhorn's exhibit of her work. As if that's not enough, filmmaker Jem Cohen, photographer John Gossage and Martin Puryear (who had a retrospective at the National Gallery last year) will also be on hand to discuss Truitt's abstract, large-scale column installations. Tickets will be distributed starting at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 8 in the lobby; given the impressive lineup, the earlier you can get there the better. (discussion: 7 p.m. Oct. 8; exhibition: Oct. 8-Jan. 3)

For a decidedly more mysterious exhibition opening, Flashpoint will be kicking off a scavenger hunt and artist Andrew Wodzianski will be putting on a funerary performance to celebrate the gallery's new exhibit, "House." The show includes paintings and works on paper inspired by the horror movie "House on Haunted Hill," in which a mansion is not very accommodating to its overnight guests. Curious about the performance? You'll have to show up to find out: Wodzianski wants to capture some of the over-the-top spectacle that made the 1959 movie such a campy classic. As for the scavenger hunt, clues for the scavenger hunt will be released via Twitter starting on Thursday, and the five winners get free admission to the gallery's Halloween party. (opening reception: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 8; exhibition: Oct. 8-Nov. 7)

Celebrate a different kind of cryptic this month with "Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions and Conundrums in Contemporary Art" at the Museum for Women in the Arts. The works on display are the type that don't reveal themselves immediately, so carve out some time to ruminate. Leonora Carrington and Robin Kahn are among the 23 artists in this group show. (Oct. 9-Jan. 10)

The Phillips Collection will be delving into the world of African artifacts through the lens of a modernist photographer for its next exhibition. "Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens" will include his shots of artifacts and some of those artifacts themselves. (Oct. 10-Jan. 10)

The National Gallery is going a little crazy this month. It's opening six exhibitions, most of which draw from the museum's vast permanent collection. Among the new shows is "Editions with Additions: Working Proofs by Jasper Johns," which displays some of the lithographs and etchings that later became paintings or pastels. You'll also be able to see plenty of Johns's recurring themes, from his beloved targets to letters of the alphabet. (Oct. 11-April 4)

Artist Brian Jungen shows how he fuses found objects with Native American tradition for "Strange Comfort" at the Museum of the American Indian. Jungen will also be at the Hirshhorn to discuss his work, which includes a mobile of a giant shark, an alligator and other animals, all composed of suitcases and carry-on bags. (discussion: 7 p.m. Oct. 16; exhibition: Oct. 16-Aug. 8)

Japanese fashions have always had a flair for the dramatic, from colorful kimonos to harajuku girls. The Textile Museum is taking a look at some of the contemporary looks that came out of Japan and paved the way for more avant-garde clothing design. Look for more than 40 garments showing oversized proportions, asymmetry and unique constructions. (Oct. 17-April 11)

The final Hirshhorn After Hours of the year is headed our way. The celebration will be marked by the usual -- exhibition tours and cash bar -- but also performances by Fatback. Tickets are $18. They're on sale now, and they'll go fast, so get yours now. (Oct. 23)

The Sackler is delving into a different type of art this month with a look at the art of divination. "Falnama: The Book of Omens" includes illustrated books used by fortune tellers in the 16th and 17th centuries in Safavid Iran and Ottoman Turkey. (Oct. 24-Jan. 24)

-- Stephanie Merry

By Stephanie Merry  | October 1, 2009; 2:17 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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