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Sunday, March 11, 2007

ART

DUANE HANSON'S LIFELIKE SCULPTURES of everyday Americans are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. You can see a crowd of 15 of them in a touring show on display in the art museum at American University's Katzen Arts Center. Since the exhibition came on the roster late, when all the Katzen's exhibition spaces had been committed to a throng of other shows, curator Jack Rasmussen decided to spread the Hansons across the whole museum. That mostly works to good effect: On the second floor, Hanson's "Man on Mower" rhymes nicely with the suburban landscapes of Stanley Lewis. One floor below, the elegant abstract paintings of Madeleine Keesing are in interesting tension with Hanson's low-culture, pop-art aesthetic -- which was first conceived in opposition to clean modernist forms. The Hansons have been pulled from the artist's estate, and mostly date from the decade or so before the sculptor's death in 1996; none have quite the energy of his 1960s works. Compared with the ultra-illusionistic figures of more contemporary tricksters such as Ron Mueck or Evan Penny, they also look surprisingly handcrafted and arty. Still, in his prime Hanson was a figure to be reckoned with, and this show lets us make a start at reckoning with him again.

-- Blake Gopnik

Through April 15 at the Katzen Arts Center at American University. Open 11 to 4, Tuesday through Sunday. 202-885-1300,http://http://www.american.edu/katzen. Free.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

THE POST-CLASSICAL ENSEMBLE can be relied upon to offer brainy and challenging programs. On Friday night at the Clarice Smith Center, there will be a chamber rendition of the final song from Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" ("Der Abscheid"), presented in the context of the Chinese music and poetry that helped inspire it. The program will also contain the premiere of a new work by the Chinese American composer Zhou Long. Delores Ziegler will be the mezzo-soprano; Min Xiao-Fen and Wang Guowei will play two Chinese instruments, the pipa and the erhu. Angel Gil-Ordóñez is the music director with artistic direction by Joseph Horowitz.

-- Tim Page

At the Kay Theatre, Clarice Smith Center at the University of Maryland, College Park. An introductory program at 7 p.m. open to ticket holders precedes the concert at 8. Tickets are $30; $7 for students. 301-405-2787 orhttp://www.post-classicalensemble.org.

FILM

THE DC INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL wraps up tonight with -- are you ready, ladies? -- Jack Bauer in the flesh. That's right: "24" star Kiefer Sutherland will headline DCIFF's closing event, a screening of "I Trust You to Kill Me." The rockumentary, directed by Manu Boyer, chronicles Sutherland and the rock band he manages, Rocco DeLuca and the Burden, as they undertake their first world tour. After the 7:30 screening, the band will take the stage at 9. But there's more . . . the fest is paying tribute all day to local filmmakers with three programs: documentary shorts, fictional shorts and excerpts from three feature-length films-in-progress that were shot here. The last, at 4, includes Tim Chey's "The Genius Club" (Stephen Baldwin and Tom Sizemore star), Babar Ahmed's "Royal Kill" (featuring the final performance of the late Pat Morita) and Vera Chawla's "Death Without Consent" (about bioterrorism). The filmmakers are scheduled to attend and answer questions afterward.


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