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Posted at 8:16 PM ET, 06/ 1/2010

Up next: June arts

By Stephanie Merry

Just in time for out-of-town visitors, area museums are offering a diverse slate of programming. From Leonardo Da Vinci to killer apes and Madeleine Albright to Shakespearean shipwrecks, it doesn't get much more eclectic than this.

While the events associated with the upcoming Dupont Kalorama Museum Walk Weekend have been well documented, the Phillips has an added draw in the form of two new exhibitions. "Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings" shows off 23 works in which the artist, usually known for his colorful palette, opted for a subtler, nearly paintless approach. Meanwhile, "Robert Ryman: Variations & Improvisations" consists of small abstract works that experiment with monochromatic painting through the use of varied paints and materials. (Saturday-Sept. 12)

Remember how lost you used to get before a talking navigation system became your favorite dashboard accessory? Now imagine a world without any maps whatsoever, much less GPS. Such is the case in the Folger's "Lost at Sea: The Ocean in the English Imagination, 1550-1750." The exhibit includes texts chronicling both the real lives of mariners and the romanticized fiction of shipwrecks (think: "Twelfth Night" and "The Tempest") along with compasses and other seafaring tools from the period. (June 10-Sept. 4)

The Hirshhorn's annual Summer Camp film series is exploring the theme "Apesploitation!!!" Among the movies are "Gorilla at Large" starring Anne Bancroft and Raymond Burr and "Konga," the 1961 B movie about a massive primate that terrorizes London. (June 10-24)

Diplomacy is paramount for the secretary of state, so Bill Clinton's pick, Madeleine Albright, found a way to send messages -- both pointed and polite -- without speaking a word. After Saddam Hussein referred to Albright as a serpent, for example, she greeted him wearing a pin in the shape of a snake. "Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection" gives an in-depth look at vibrant baubles, along with the colorful character who wore them. (June 18-Oct. 18)

The National Geographic Museum is offering a lesson on the (literal) Renaissance man behind the Vitruvian Man, "Mona Lisa" and the "Last Supper" with "Da Vinci -- The Genius." Along with recreated sketches and paintings, you can also catch models created from the artist's invention sketches, including something resembling the modern helicopter. (June 18-Sept. 12)

You know July is just around the corner when the Smithsonian Folklife Festival descends on the Mall. The annual celebration of different cultures is spotlighting Asian Pacific Americans and Mexico this year with live theater, dance, martial arts demonstrations and culinary specialties. There will also be an area that gives a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into running the Smithsonian museums. (June 24-28 and July 1-5)

With "By Request," local artist and curator Jeffry Cudlin is taking a systematic approach to artistic success. Cudlin polled area experts on their ideal works of art and passed along that information to seven artists to create pieces based on those preferences. And just to make things interesting, Cudlin added one more stipulation: He has to be incorporated in each work. The result is both thought-provoking and amusing. (June 25-July 31)

-- Stephanie Merry

By Stephanie Merry  | June 1, 2010; 8:16 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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