'90 Years of New' at the Phillips Collection and 'The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration' at the Kennedy Center

Thursday, January 13, 2011; 10:27 AM

It's a big year for two of the area's most-revered cultural institutions. The Phillips Collection kicks off "90 Years of New" proving the museum remains young at heart. Meanwhile, the Kennedy Center commemorates the 50th anniversary of its namesake's inauguration.

Here are the details for what's on tap at each locale.

- Stephanie Merry

The Phillips Collection

The weekend of free admission also marks the reopening of the newly renovated house, which has been closed to the public since a September fire. There, visitors will find a number of newly installed works from the permanent collection, including Howard Hodgkin's breathtakingly vibrant 20-foot painted etchings "As Time Goes By."

Art-lovers should take advantage of a barrage of 10-minute tours that illuminate more than 90 works from the museum's collection. Visitors can take one or all of the tours, depending on their capacity for the strangely exhausting museum shuffle.

In a move seemingly inspired by Wayne Thiebaud, there will be a display of masterpieces in cake form. Local pastry chefs Rebekka Baltzell of Restaurant Eve and CakeLove's Warren Brown, among many others, will display their sweet creations inspired by works from the museum's collection. A slightly more effervescent birthday party staple - bubbly - will be available in the cafe while supplies last.

The celebration continues throughout the year with art displays signifying some of the museum's important firsts, including a site-specific Sam Gilliam work that will go on view Jan. 29 (Gilliam's first solo show was at the Phillips), and the restoration of the Klee room in September (the original 1938 incarnation was the first room in a museum dedicated to the work of painter Paul Klee).

It all culminates Nov. 5 with a big bash, the plans for which are being ironed out. But, as anyone who has been to Phillips After 5 can attest, the museum knows how to throw a party, so stay tuned for details.

"90 Years of New" Free Weekend. Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. 202-387-2151. www.phillipscollection.org. Free.

The Kennedy Center

The main event - a concert on Thursday with Paul Simon, Morgan Freeman, Julie Andrews and Yo-Yo Ma - is sold out. There's plenty more to choose from, however, such as these highlights:

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