A Collective Mind-Set

Between now and 2020, at least seven museums will open in the D.C. area, funds allowing. Most everyone’s aware of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but the six below — including the just-announced ICE — are more mysterious.

ICE (Institute for Contemporary Expression), 925 13th St. NW

WHAT IT IS: A modern art museum, education center and restaurant in the historic, vacant Franklin School.

BIG NAME BACKERS: Dani Levinas, local art collector and president of MiCash Inc., a purveyor of prepaid debit cards.

MISSION: ICE will be a “kunsthalle” — German for “art gallery specifically for cutting-edge temporary exhibitions.”

WHAT YOU’LL SEE: The exhibits may change, but the attached Jose Andres restaurant will probably be open until the end of time.

SUGGESTED SLOGAN: “Not Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Randall School/Rubell project, I and Half streets SW

WHAT IT IS: A modern art museum, education center and restaurant in the historic, vacant Randall School.

BIG NAME BACKERS: Don and Mera Rubell, Miami-based art collectors and owners of the Capitol Skyline Hotel, famed for its pool parties.

MISSION: The Rubells are known for giving emerging artists as much attention as established ones.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE: The Rubell Family Collection — portions of which travel the U.S. and the world — is rich with big names like Basquiat and Koons.

SUGGESTED SLOGAN: “The other modern art museum in a former D.C. schoolhouse.”

National Museum of the United States Army, Fort Belvoir, Va.

WHAT IT IS: Around 185,000 square feet of, depending on your viewpoint, glorious Army history or overwrought propaganda.

BIG NAME BACKERS: The Army, which REALLY wants a national museum because the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force each have one.

MISSION: The oldest branch of the U.S. armed forces desires that everyone know how much it’s contributed to society.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE: The Army’s collection of military art includes four original Norman Rockwell works.

SUGGESTED SLOGAN: “First in war, last in getting our museum together.”

National Museum of LGBT History and Culture, location to be determined

WHAT IT IS: A hub for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and scholarship.

BIG NAME BACKERS: Former Smithsonian researcher Tim Gold and his husband, furniture mogul Mitchell Gold.

MISSION: Among the museum’s many aims: to be a safe space for LGBT youth to feel accepted.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE: The Golds have more than 5,000 artifacts, like the sign from closed Dupont bookstore Lambda Rising and mementos from activists’ families.

SUGGESTED SLOGAN: “We’re here! We have a gift shop! Get used to it!”

Museum of Science Fiction, location to be determined

WHAT IT IS: “A center of gravity where art and science are powered by imagination.”

BIG NAME BACKERS: A ragtag fleet of volunteers on a quest for home. An Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a preview location ends March 9.

MISSION: The 3,000-square-foot preview museum will host events and test exhibition concepts.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE: The prospectus mentions a Stargate (from the “Stargate” franchise), a full-size X-wing fighter (from “Star Wars”) and “Star Trek” props.

SUGGESTED SLOGAN: “Live long (enough and you might see us open) and prosper (so you can give us money).”

unnamed Bible museum, 300 D St. SW, formerly the Washington Design Center

WHAT IT IS: The Newseum meets The Holy Land Experience (Orlando’s Disneyworld of religion).

BIG NAME BACKERS: David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, and son Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby.

MISSION: The museum will serve as headquarters for the Green Collection, the world’s largest private hoard of Biblical texts.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE: The smallest Bible ever. A Bible that went to the moon. The first known New Testament written in Palestinian Aramaic. Elvis’ Bible.

SUGGESTED SLOGAN: “Full refund if Raptured.”


First the Beatles, Now This

America’s fifth branch of English fashion retailer Topshop opens this year in Springfield, Va. What store should we steal from the British Isles next? The Irish chain Primark won our tiny Facebook survey. The Walmart-size emporiums hawk clothing so cheap it’s basically free. The drab name masks its polarizing nature as either the apex of cheap chic or the nadir of godless consumerism.


Logan Circle’s Secret Weapon: STDs (Stickers Targeting Dumbasses)

Street stickers are legit art, as you’ll learn on pages 6 and 7. And during one chapter of D.C. history, they were an instrument of vigilante justice. In the 1980s, the Logan Circle Community Association employed an unusual tactic to drive out prostitution: Scare away johns by slapping shaming, hot-pink stickers (see left) on their vehicles. “We try to do it while the prostitutes are in the cars with the men, usually during the sex act,” a resident told the Associated Press in 1981.