The Phillips Collection begins celebrating the 100th anniversary of founder Duncan Phillips' birth this month with a lecture series, a new film and a commemorative show, "Duncan Phillips: Centennial Exhibition," opening June 14.
The design of the exhibition will be a departure from previous Phillips shows. "We are going back to some traditional hangings, with which we hope to indicate to the visitor the kind of visual connections that Duncan Phillips used to make; we are trying to indicate what his early collecting was like," says collection curator Willem de Looper.
To accomplish this, de Looper and exhibit curator Eliza Rathbone have re-created rooms from the collection's early years. One small gallery, in the older of the two buildings that house the collection, will feature works that were collected by Phillips and his wife Marjorie through the early 1920s.
"People will get an idea of what it would have been like to come here in 1923," says de Looper. There also will be rooms in the newer annex dedicated to Renoir and Bonnard, two artists who used to have rooms filled exclusively with their works in the older building from the 1960s through the 1970s.
The film, titled "The Phillips Collection," premieres at the French Embassy June 10 and begins daily screenings at the gallery June 14, continuing through the end of the summer. The 40-minute film includes testimonial interviews with art world figures and patrons -- Washingtonians Sam Gilliam, J. Carter Brown and Katharine Graham make appearances, as does New York art dealer Pierre Matisse and, in a rare cameo, artist Richard Diebenkorn, who Phillips public information officer Laura Lester says is "hard to get on film" because he is reputedly very shy.
Beginning June 19, the collection will host a series of gallery talks at noon Thursdays on a wide range of subjects -- "historical, social and literary," says de Looper, who hopes to attract local and national artists as guest lecturers.
The last centennial year event will be a gala benefit concert in December, to be given for major Phillips donors by pianist Emanuel Ax.
A Museum Walk
Speaking of the Phillips Collection: It's one good starting point for the Dupont-Kalorama Museum Walk Saturday. Normally, the seven participating museums have different hours and admission practices, but for the Museum Walk, all will be open from noon to 4 p.m. -- and all will be free.
The marriage of science and art has produced all kinds of offspring. Scientific illustrators were combining accuracy with artfulness long before anyone was creating kinetic art, holographs and such. The illustrators' international organization, the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, meets at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History June 15-20. An exhibit of scientific illustrations will be on display in Hall 24 of the museum June 9-22. And for students of anatomical drawing, a number of free, public events will bring together artists and scientists.
This year's meeting is a homecoming for the guild -- it was founded 20 years ago at an informal gathering in the museum. For more information, call 357-2128.
Art Awards Deadline
The deadline for nominations for the fifth annual Mayor's Arts Awards is June 16. The awards "provide formal recognition to District artists, arts organizations and arts patrons who have made significant contributions to the cultural vitality of the District" . . . NSO Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor Fabio Mechetti has been named conductor-in-residence at the Washington Conservatory of Music . . . The hours for "Impressionist to Early Modern Painting From the U.S.S.R," at the National Gallery of Art, have been extended from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, through June 15.
For those who still want to watch old movies in theaters rather than in their living rooms: The National Theatre has brought back its popular free Monday night summer cinema series. Among the films to be screened: "Flying Down to Rio," part of which was spoofed at this year's Oscars, "Stormy Weather" and "There's No Business Like Show Business." All the films are screened with a companion cartoon.