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Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

March arts: DCist photography show and BYT at the Newseum

By Stephanie Merry

The American Art Museum spotlights works by George Ault, including his 1941 painting "January Full Moon." (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art/Photo by Jamison Miller)

This month marks the return of some old favorites. The Renwick's biennial Craft Invitational, DCist's annual photo exhibit and the National Gallery's In the Tower series are just a few of the promising draws at local museums and galleries.

There's more to Alexander Calder than large-scale mobiles in primary colors. The American artist was also adept at portraiture, and in some pieces, he used wire to shape 3-D forms of faces or bodies. The National Portrait Gallery takes a dive into this often overlooked portion of Calder's career with "Calder's Portraits: A New Language," which includes depictions of John D. Rockefeller mid-golf swing, Jimmy Durante's distinctive nose and unruly eyebrows and a drawing of Jean-Paul Sartre with eddies for eyes. (March 11-Aug. 14)

The American Art Museum looks at the Great Depression through the spare scenes of George Ault's paintings, including shadowy, late-night panoramas of small-town America and snowy countryside vistas. (March 11-Sept. 5)

The National Gallery continues its series devoted to innovative artists from the not-too-distant past, this time focusing on a Korean-born video artist for "In the Tower: Nam June Paik." The main attraction will be Paik's "One Candle, Candle Projection," a rich sensory experience in which colorful images from candle flames are cast onto the gallery walls. (March 13-Oct. 2)

Over the past five years, the DCist Exposed Photography Show has grown and grown. This year, there will be two parties at Long View Gallery to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, which spotlights 43 images from more than 1,000 entries. Music will be provided by DJ Sequoia. (Opening receptions: March 15 and 16. Exhibit runs through March 27)

If you stop to look around, you might realize that Hildreth Meière's work is in a lot of high-profile buildings. The 20th-century muralist and mosaicist left her mark on Radio City Music Hall, a passageway in Rockefeller Center, the domes at the National Academy of Sciences and the Washington National Cathedral's Chapel of the Resurrection. The National Building Museum offers a survey of the artist's work with more than 100 pieces, including sketches, models and altar pieces. (March 19-Nov. 27)

Smithsonian Associates jumps on the museum party train with "Celebrate South Africa," part of the Mingle at the Museum series, at the Museum of African Art. Some of the draws include cocktails, music and spoken word by Carolyn Malachi, a chance to see the new "Artists in Dialogue 2" exhibit, plus food inspired by Africa, such as sambusas. (March 24)

If you missed last December's Brightest Young Things party at the Newseum, there's another chance to check out the scene this month with Night at the Newseum II. On the other hand, if you were at December's party, and you're still a little annoyed about the frustrating lines for drink tickets and beverages, take heart: BYT promises that this event will be much more streamlined. Plus, DJs Nikodemus and Ancient Astronauts will be providing the dance music. (March 25)

The Renwick's biennial Craft Invitational returns with a display of 70 pieces from four craft artists. Cliff Lee, who specializes in ceramics, gets inspiration from lychee nuts and melons for his urns and vases, and Matthias Pliessnig's wooden furniture takes cues from the grid-like construction of boats to create works that are at once elegantly curvilinear and explicitly geometric. Judith Schaechter uses colorful glass to depict somber scenes, and Roman-born, fourth-generation silversmith Ubaldo Vitali displays both modern and classical sensibilities in his candlesticks and pitchers. (March 25-July 31)

By Stephanie Merry  | March 1, 2011; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Museums  
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