Most promising among the new blossoms is the 5x5 Project, an ambitious, city-wide program of 25 public art installations — five artists chosen by five curators — that will debut at various locations on March 20. Keep an eye on the project’s site, where you can sign up for Twitter updates to learn more about specific sites once they’re announced.
On March 8, the National Museum of Women in the Arts unveils an outdoor installation of four sculptures by Chakaia Booker along New York Avenue NW near the museum. One of the most interesting contemporary artists, Booker is known for dramatic works made from recycled automobile tires.
On March 22, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opens “360 Degree Projection,” a wrap-around video projection called “Song1” by artist Doug Aitken on the exterior of its donut-shaped building. The artist will also give a talk about his work that evening. Sometime this month, be sure to check out the museum’s ongoing exhibition “Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space.”
In other video-art news, the Smithsonian American Art Museum launches the landmark exhibition “The Art of Video Games” on March 16. It will feature several games visitors can actually play in the gallery, including the Secret of Monkey Island and Myst.
Art talks worth marking on your calendar include:
March 8: Helen A. Harrison, curator of the exhibition “Memories Arrested in Space: A Centennial Tribute to Jackson Pollock,” will speak about the pioneering abstract expressionist painter at the Smithsonian’s Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery.
March 10: The paintings of artist Roger Shimomura — included in the National Portrait Gallery show “Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter” — are cartoonish. One is a self-portrait of the artist as Pikachu. Shimomura talks about the serious side of his art, including his childhood experience in a Japanese American internment camp.
March 24: As part of the “American Pictures” series, in which notable art experts speak at length about one notable art work, illustrator Maira Kalman” will discuss a single, haunting photograph by Diane Arbus at the Smithsonian’s Reynolds Center.
March 28: Contemporary artist Janine Antoni is known for works that blur the distinction between sculpture and performance. Previous pieces have been constructed from soap (partly lathered away by the artist) and chocolate (licked by the artist). She talks about her work at the Phillips Collection.
Finally, here are some gallery openings to look out for.
March 2: Jimmy Miracle makes site-specific sculptures from found objects. In “Ordinary Glory,” the art/studio space Pleasant Plains Workshop showcases a few of of the artist’s 3D pieces, along with a series of photographs documenting earlier pieces that he created along the Rockaway waterfront in Queens.That same evening, Hillyer Art Space opens a show dedicated to the evocative carved-wood abstractions of Rachel Rotenberg.
March 3: Long-time D.C. sculptor Jae Ko is known for sensuous, rolled-paper abstractions. Marcia Mateyka Gallery hosts a show of the artist’s latest work.
March 9: Heiner Contemporary spotlights the work of Avery Lawrence, a promising, New Orleans-based artist whose practice incorporates performance, photography, drawing, video and installation. ■
March 17: Conner Contemporary opens two concurrent shows, one featuring New York video artist Janet Biggs, and the other featuring Washingtonian Wilmer Wilson IV, whose performance-based art was a standout at this summer’s (e)merge art fair.
March 24:Whether creating photo abstractions from corrupted film stock or making pictures of spent shotgun shells, Colby Caldwell’s photographs explore the theme of memory. “Gun Shy” is the artist’s latest exhibition at Hemphill Fine Arts.■■■