The Corcoran's acquired tastes are mostly crowd-pleasers. Eight years' gifts and purchases -- paintings, sculpture, photos and works on paper from the mid-18th century to the present -- cover the top floor in an exhibition that's long on relatively recent works.
"Acquisitions Since 1975" is in part a who's who in American Modernist art: Thomas Hart Benton, Gene Davis, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Guy Pene du Bois, Helen Frankenthaler, Roy Lichtenstein, Alfred Maurer, Robert Motherwell, Georgia O'Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, John Storrs, Andy Warhol and Max Weber among them. Altogether, the show boasts 175 works by 120 artists.
Additions to the museum's photography collection fill two rooms, with works by Ansel Adams, Walker Evans and Harry Callahan among those on view. These and the contemporary paintings give the show a warm, familiar feel.
Downstairs beginning Saturday, works by well-known photographer Linda Connor are exhibited in her first one-person show in Washington. These 60 black-and-white photographs are selections from two series: Indian Nepal and ancient rock carvings in the American northwest. They are subtle but rewarding.
The gold-tone contact prints on cheap printing-out paper, exposed by sunlight in an hours-long process, seem to glow. Connor has come full circle from photojournalism to surrealist collage to soft-focus photography, and now back to sharp focus. She captures veiled women, animals and architecture in her Asian travel pictures. Yoga and laundry are both snapped by the riverside.
Her images of American Indian signs and symbols scratched in rocks make for equally exotic landscapes. The beauty of the petroglyphs is compounded by the sometimes eerie rock formations; some carvings are nearly obscured in the large landscape compositions. The results are mysterious. As curator Jane Livingston points out, the photograph's usual role as signifier is overturned, because the photo points to another signifier in the coded carvings. ACQUISITIONS SINCE 1975 -- Through January 16. LINDA CONNOR: PHOTOGRAPHS -- Through January 2, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 17th and New York Avenue NW.