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Posted at 2:15 PM ET, 04/29/2010

Up next: May arts

By Stephanie Merry

Yves Klein's "Anthropometries" go on display at the Hishhorn this month. (Lee Stalsworth/Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)

This month promises a parade of artistic innovation: Emilie Brzezinski offers a unique approach to framing family portraits, Yves Klein shows a worthy alternative to the paintbrush and a slew of crafty creators descend on Baltimore with art that literally moves people.

That display of art on wheels, also known as the Kinetic Sculpture Race, rolls through Baltimore's streets and harbor this weekend with man-made vehicles that have, in the past, been modeled after an Oregon Trail-style covered wagon, the Griswold family's station wagon and Fifi, a pink French poodle. In short, the race is more about absurd aesthetics than speed and precision -- although there is an award for the participant who finishes exactly in the middle of the pack. (Saturday)

On a more serious note, the National Gallery is proving there's more to Allen Ginsberg than the poetic behemoth "Howl." The multi-talented writer also had a knack for photography, and "Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg" offers a glimpse of his work, including portraits of fellow literary giants Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. (Sunday through Sept. 6)

Katzen Arts Center is showing off an artistic alternative to the family album this month. Emilie Brzezinski installs large-scale photographs of relatives within hollowed-out tree trunks. But "Family Trees" will be a family affair in more ways than one. A special reception on May 17 will offer the chance to meet both the artist and her daughter, Mika Brzezinski, the occasionally fiery co-anchor of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." The younger Brzezinski will be signing copies of her new memoir, "All Things at Once." (May 8-June 6)

Another artistic innovator, South African artist Paul Emmanuel, offers a fresh approach to etching by carving drawings into photographs. "Transitions," at the Museum of African Art, also includes a video installation that chronicles the ritual head shaving of military recruits as a way to examine issues of identity and masculinity. (May 12-Aug. 22)

Fans of colorful Marimekko patterns take note: Vibrant textiles go on display with "Art by the Yard: Women Design Mid-Century Britain" at the Textile Museum. See the fire-hued swirls of " Helix" by Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler's charming, geometric birds and other whimsical designs that gave people a reason to smile after the somber wartime era. (May 15-Sept. 12)

The Hirshhorn's next big survey reveals Yves Klein's body of work, which happens to include some work of the body. The French artist's inventive approach to painting included coating nude women in blue paint and having them imprint their bodies on blank canvases. These "anthropometries," along with his iconic fire paintings -- a series of singed canvases, some with bright paint -- will be shown along with videos of his singular creative process. (May 20-Sept. 12)

-- Stephanie Merry

By Stephanie Merry  | April 29, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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