Washington’s museums span a wide variety of subject matter and topics — from the Phillips’s collection of modern art to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s somber-to-somewhat-celebratory journey through our country’s shared history.
Usually, one or two major exhibitions tend to dominate the attention, chatter and visitors, while other artists and smaller art spaces can be overlooked. Here are five worthy spring and summer shows that might not be on your radar:
Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heir to the Post cereal fortune and once the wealthiest woman in the United States, amassed an incredible collection of artwork and artifacts, many of which are on display at Hillwood Estate, her former home in Northwest Washington. One of the current exhibits, “The Artistic Table,” was influenced (and mainly furnished) by the ornate dinnerware Merriweather Post used at home. Historically informed table displays are on view in the main dining and breakfast rooms, while more modern table settings are in the special exhibition space of Hillwood Mansion. Through June 10 at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. hillwoodmuseum.org.
Two exhibitions at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center deal with questions of black identity. In “If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” artists delve into what they would share with their younger selves, and “Mothership to the Ancestral Plane,” which was developed by local high school students, envisions a future in which black youth are given the right tools to shape global culture, and receive recognition for their pioneering. June 1-Oct. 6 at Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center, 4519 Rhode Island Ave., North Brentwood, Md. pgaamcc.org .
Australian artist Georgia Saxelby was inspired by the Women’s March of January 2017 for her latest project, “To Future Women,” which invites participants to write letters to women 20 years in the future. They will be sealed in a time capsule at the Phillips Collection until 2037, when they’ll be exhibited. The work, which blurs the lines between artist and audience, was inaugurated at the Phillips in January and has traveled around the Washington area since. Its last stop is at International Arts & Artists (or IA&A) at Hillyer. June 1-July 1 at IA&A at Hillyer, 9 Hillyer Ct. NW.athillyer.org.
Katie Pumphrey’s latest work explores a slice of time we invoke so often: “Five More Minutes.” The Baltimore artist’s solo show consists of two parts, shown concurrently at Susan Calloway Fine Arts in Georgetown and the Athenaeum in Alexandria. The installations aim to distill the emotions and sensations that can be experienced in a five-minute period. Pumphrey’s background as a long-distance, open-water swimmer (she swam the English Channel in 2015) finds its way into her paintings, with her technique mirroring the nature of swimming in ever-changing waters. June 2-July 21 at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. callowayart.com. June 7-July 22 at the Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. nvfaa.org.
Loves Me Not, a new bar and gallery in Adams Morgan, seeks to provide a space where artists from the local underground scene can sell their work, including photos, collages and paintings. The cocktail lounge, on the second floor of Mellow Mushroom, aims to shrink the “large gap between the fine arts community in D.C. and the potent underground art scene.” Part of its inaugural exhibit features artwork priced at $300 or less. Loves Me Not, 2436 18th St. NW.