If, like dozens of others, you were turned away from Kara Walker’s sold-out appearance last month at the Hirshhorn, don’t think you’re going to be able to just show up for the red-hot artist’s Feb. 6 talk at the Corcoran Gallery of Art instead. That’s sold out, too. (Oh well, there’s always the podcast.)
So plan now for the other interesting artist talks, gallery openings and new museum shows this month, starting with “Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space,” opening at the Hirshhorn on Feb. 23. Don’t miss the “Suprasensorial” gallery talk by Washington artist Samuel Scharf on Feb. 24.
The first weekend in February is crowded with museum openings that should appeal to photography buffs. On Feb. 4, the Phillips Collection opens “Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard.” Using both paintings and photographs — many of which have not been previously seen or published — the show looks at how the camera changed the way artists worked in the late 19th century. That same day, the Corcoran opens “ Shadows of History: Photographs of the Civil War from the Collection of Julia J. Norell” and “Tim Hetherington: Sleeping Soldiers,” which features the late photojournalist’s haunting images of soldiers asleep and at leisure in Afghanistan.
On the evening of Feb. 4, there are several significant openings at galleries. The big ones include G Fine Art, which unveils its third solo show dedicated to conceptual painter Ian Whitmore, and Conner Contemporary, which hosts a reception for “Patricia Cronin: Bodies and Souls” and “Die Vettern: Wir packen in unseren Koffer/Packing Our Suitcase.” The centerpiece of the Conner show is a major figurative sculpture by Cronin that evokes D.C.’s many monuments and memorials. Called “Memorial to a Marriage,” the piece features nearly life-size bronze likenesses of the artist and her life partner, artist Deborah Kass, in a tender embrace.
Contemporary Wing also hosts an opening for “Next Generation” that night. While the new gallery readies its permanent home near Logan Circle for its May 5 opening, its inaugural show will be held in a temporary pop-up space near the Convention Center.
On Feb. 11, the Washington Project for the Arts opens “Select,” its annual fundraising exhibition (which culminates in an expensive, ticketed gala and auction on March 3). The opening of the exhibition, however, is free to the public, and it includes a ceremony honoring beloved local arts patron and impresario Molly Ruppert.
Also on Feb. 11, Artisphere is opening a cool show called “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos.” As the title suggests, it’s a collection of the painter’s rarely seen personal snapshots.
Finally, make note of these artist talks, which you still stand a chance of getting into:
Anthony McCall doesn’t have anything currently on view in Washington at the moment, but many will remember his work, which makes stunning use of the sculptural quality of light, from the Hirshhorn’s “Cinema Effect” several years ago. On Feb. 15, the British artist talks about his work and career at the Phillips Collection.
It’s hard to pigeonhole J.J. McCracken. Is she a ceramicist? A conceptualist? A performance artist? Probably a little of all three. On Feb. 16, she’ll speak about her show “Thirst” at the Gateway Arts Center’s. 39th Street Gallery
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