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Posted at 3:54 PM ET, 09/ 9/2010

Art-mageddon: Let the art-opening blitz begin

By Lavanya Ramanathan

Brace yourself. This weekend is like the March Madness of the local art scene, with nearly two dozen exhibitions opening Friday and Saturday alone.

There are so many that the District is ponying up cash for free shuttles to ferry gallery-goers around the city Saturday night. The five buses, which I'm hereby dubbing the "arty buses," will make three stops: one at 1515 14th St. NW (for Adamson, Irvine Contemporary, Hemphill and other area galleries); another at 1353 U St. NW (for Morton Fine Arts and Project 4); and a final stop at 1358 Florida Ave. NE (for G Fine Art, Conner Contemporary and other area galleries). For the full list, check out the Art Bus Facebook page.

Our guide to Art-maggedon:

FRIDAY

The exhibit: "reck room" at Flashpoint
The party: Friday 7-9 p.m.
Patrick McDonough turns Flashpoint into a sports fan's dream basement, with paintings of basketball shot charts, a beer slideshow and more.

The exhibit: The Arts on Foot Alternative Art Party at Pookie's Gallery (an Arts on Foot-related pop-up gallery at 860 E St. NW)
The party: Friday 6:30-9:30 p.m.
We don't know exactly what kind of art is going into Pookie's, but who cares? It's called Pookie's. We do know this much: The party features performances by Words Beats & Life as well as an early peek at FotoweekDC and Pink Line Project's Artcade. This party is just close enough to Flashpoint that you'd be wrong if you didn't hit up both.

The exhibit: "Devotion in the District: Photographic Explorations of Places of Worship" at the Gallery at Social, 400 Meridian Pl. NW, second floor
The party: Friday 6-9 p.m.
Maria Bryk spent a year photographing Washington places of worship for this exhibition, which opens in the new gallery space above the Columbia Heights restaurant and bar Social.

The exhibit: "Beautiful Minds," a show curated by Art Whino for the opening of the Yards Park, 10 Water St. SE, near the Navy Yard Metro
The party: Friday 3:30-11 p.m.
The Art Whino exhibit is just one of many events Friday celebrating the opening of a public park area in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. In the park's lumber shed, look for the exhibition, a beer garden and cocktails; nearby you'll find performances by ESL artist Federico Aubele and others, jazz and even fireworks.

The exhibit: Bethesda Art Walk, at various galleries in downtown Bethesda
The party: Friday 6-9 p.m. A guided tour meets at 6:30 at Old Georgetown Road and Wisconsin Avenue.
Every month, Bethesda galleries stay open late for one giant reception, but only once a year does the bash get this interesting. The Trawick Prize annual competition awards the best of the area's artistic community, and at a gallery on Hampden Lane, you can catch a special exhibition of finalists. It includes work by some big names, including Kathryn Cornelius, Dan Steinhilber (who took second place) and Sara Pomerance (who snapped up the Trawick's $10,000 prize).

The exhibit: "Nightscaping" and "In Irons" at Civilian Art Projects, 1019 Seventh St. NW
The party: Friday 7-9 p.m.
Erick Jackson, an artist whom I have admired since I saw his nearly 60-work show "All Night Flight" at Civilian some time back (he was also one of the founders of local music legends the Apes), created his latest series, "Nightscaping," when else? - during this year's epic snowstorm. The angular works should pair nicely with Brooklyn-based artist Trish Tillman's site-specific sculpture and cut-paper pieces, showcased in her solo show "In Irons."

SATURDAY

The exhibit: "Potty-Trained at Gunpoint," at the Fridge, 516 Eighth St. SE (rear alley)
The party: Saturday 6-10 p.m.
In his solo show, John Tsombikos, the artist behind the notorious "Borf" graffiti that was splashed across the area in the mid-aughts, heads indoors -- to a gallery. The artist abandons the Borf aesthetic in favor of a mixed-media examination of "the tactics of power used for social control."

The exhibit: "Mercurius Duplex" "Infinity" and works by Susan MacWilliam at Conner Contemporary, 1358 Florida Ave. NE
The party: Saturday 6-8 p.m.
Installation, performance, video, painting -- no medium goes unexplored in these three shows. "Mercurius Duplex" features the work of British painter John Stark, whose richly painted hooded figures reference the overwrought imagery of death-metal albums; Belfast-based artist Susan MacWilliam meticulously researched and reenacted a 1930s seance for her video "F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N"; and D.C. artist John Kirchner's "Infinity," a massive installation and site-specific performance, explores boating as a mid-century symbol of status.
Gallery director Leigh Conner had been mum about the nature of Kirchner's performance but has now revealed that it will include nudity. (Yessss!)

The exhibit: "The House of Chance and Mischief" at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St. NW
The party: Saturday 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Renee Stout is back doing what she does best: mining the subconscious and her cultural heritage for icons of healers and, in this case, images inspired by a recurring dream.

--Lavanya Ramanathan

By Lavanya Ramanathan  | September 9, 2010; 3:54 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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