Abnormal Artistry

April 3, 2013

Any art exhibition that features a faux stick of butter is clearly unconcerned with the grand and exalted. Sculptor Robert Gober’s particular butter stick — “Untitled (2003)” — is made of beeswax and is more than two feet long. The works in “Out of the Ordinary,” on view through May 19 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, take everyday objects and situations and transform them into art that’s anything but routine.

Display Stand with Madonnas” (1987-89): German artist Katharina Fritsch’s assemblage, above, features nine rows of statues of the Virgin Mary. The bright yellow of the small figures and the Warholian repetition of a single image make the piece pop.

“Self Portrait (Actress)/After Marlene Dietrich 2” (1996): Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura has made a career of inserting himself into other people’s artworks and identities. In this work, he poses as the German-born actress for a “self-portrait” with very little self in it.

“Green Storefront” (1964): Bulgarian artist Christo is known for swathing large objects — natural and man-made — in fabric. He built the facade featured in this work, but its realistic mundanity calls out for his trademark wrapping. So, naturally, he swathed it in colored fabric.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW; through May 19, free; 202-633-1000. (L’Enfant Plaza)
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