Washington galleries along the inagural parade route are showing everything from rubber elephant heads to the Leonardo da Vinci Codex next week -- all offering warm, free, haven to frostbitten art lovers.
To make out-of-town collectors fell really at home on Inaguration Day, the six galleries at 406 7th St. NW have banded together for an all-day open house with an after-the-parade open bar. It's been listed as an offical inaugural event.
The monumental elephant heads -- made from split tire tubes and radiator-hose-trunks -- are on view at Kornblatt Gallery on the ground floor at "406," where the funny "found" sculpture of young Baltimore artist Leonard Streckfuss has transformed the space into what looks like an environmeltalist's trophy room.
Bagged on one of the artist's "Urban Safaris" are truck tires that he has sliced, twisted and bolted to look uncannily like antelope heads and mounted bull-moose antlers. There are also hunting-dog heads made from old leather boots and handsome, old-fashioned rifles made from table legs and shovel handles. The sculpture is not for the ages, but shows an impressive ability to exploit the suggestive power of found objects. The show continues through Feb. 4.
Since her first prize in the Corcoran Area Exhibition in 1978, Nade Haley has continually demonstrated the richness and vitality of her sculptural imagination. Most often it has been expressed in space-manipulating, room-filling installations at WPA, usually floating wooden grids pierced by metal rods; and her undulating suspended wooden construction at the corner of 12th and G streets NW is a downtown landmark.
Haley's new show at Diane Brown at "406" consists of a group of wall-hung sculptures that mark the beginning of what she calls a "Window" series. As the artist explains in some introductory drawings, these highly simplified, minimal constructions built from wood deal with her experience of "being inside looking out."
But it is still the formal challenge of "drawing in space" that occupies Haley, and her familiar device of the suspended wooden grid still serves as the central armature for her ideas.Often the grids are pierced by the familiar squiggles of bent metal; and she continues to exploit the play of shadows, though now in richer and more complex ways. In the best piece on view here, Haley eliminates metal entirely -- often an annoyingly obvious device -- and instead achieves new subtlety and sophistication by combining the wooden form of her sculpture with the lines of shadow it casts to complete composition. Her show continues through Feb. 5.
Prentiss Taylor was born in 1907 just around the corner from 20th and I streets NW, when it was "a charming maple-shaded family neighborhood," he recalls. Franz Bader's Gallery is there now, and is exhibiting a group of Taylor's drawings, lithographs and watercolors from his long career.
Taylor was trained in lithography at the famous George C. Miller workshop in New York. And as this show reveals, that medium provided the greatest fulfillment of his essentially graphic style: from the intimate early scenes of chamber-music players at the National Gallery to new work including one of his most haunting images -- the 1980 "breakfast in London," a self-portrait staring into a grand hotel mirror.
But landscapes and architecture, not people, traditionally have held center stage in Taylor's art. He seems to have traveled everywhere, exploring with his meticulous, searching pencil and crayon everything he saw, from an old double-house in Gloucester, Mass., to Mont St.-Michael and Les Baux in France. The Baroque passion of Rome seems to have escaped him, but his cool approach is superbly suited to subjects like the rocky Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, which he has rendered often with great success.
While quietly building a career of great integrity over five decades (including stage and book design, we discover here), Taylor also involved himself in finding ways for other artists to show, especially in his 34 years as president of the Society of Washington Printmakers. His show -- a warm tribute to an elder statesman of the Washington art world -- continues through Jan. 24.