Exhibit pays tribute to laborers with extraordinary art

Woman Cleaning Shower“Woman Cleaning Shower” by Ramiro Gomez from National Portrait Gallery exhibit on work. COURTESY PHOTO  “The Sweat of their Face: Portraying American Workers,” an exhibit on view at the National Portrait Gallery, contains well-known, even iconic, images.

These include “Power House Mechanic,” a black-and-white photograph by Lewis Hine; “The Miner,” an oil painting by Pat Lyon; “American Gothic,” by Gordon Parks, oil on beaver wood; “Mine America’s Coal,” by Norman Rockwell, “Cotton Pickers,” oil, by Winslow Homer, and “Migrant Mother,” a print by Dorothea Lange.

Other images are less known and even surprising, such as daguerreotypes by Joseph T. Zealy of semi-dressed slaves. Richard Avedon, best known for his work with celebrities and fashion icons, portrays migrant workers in a series of photographs.

But co-curators Dorothy Moss and David C. Ward are hoping that regardless of the individual images, viewers understand the exhibit’s goal.


Plath and Dietrich take a new turn in the limelight

Marlene DietrichMarlene Dietrich. COURTESY PHOTO  The two women couldn’t have been more different.

Marlene Dietrich was an internationally known movie star who radiated sexual magnetism. She was also unapologetically androgynous and bisexual, at a time neither was openly accepted. A married woman whose list of lovers seemed endless, Dietrich was defeated only by aging, which made a dent in her prodigious selfconfidence.

Sylvia Plath was a shy but influential poet and novelist. While she captured the public imagination of other artists and lovers of her art forms and won a Pulitzer Prize, she never became the household name Dietrich was. Plath is also known for her turbulent relationship with husband and fellow poet Ted Hughes. After several bouts of depression and suicide attempts (possibly due to bipolar disorder), Plath took her own life at the age of 30.

Dietrich and Plath are now posthumously “sharing the same space,” in exhibitions dedicated to them at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.


Bethesda business hosts ‘A Toast to Art’ showcase

BETHESDA — Two entrepreneurs held an open house art exhibit in their own Bethesda office entitled “A Toast to Art” on Tuesday.

Sean Saidi and Sabine Roy helm Saidi-Roy Associates, or SR/A, a private business that is partly architectural and partly interior design.

SR/A is contracted to design new multifamily homes and renovate old ones in the area. Saidi and Roy’s art exhibit showcases local work from artists they know personally.

“We talk to local artists to help Bethesda because there’s not enough exhibits, and the ones available are very expensive,” said Saidi.


Center Stage: Getting on the “Hot Beat” at Smithsonian American Art

WASHINGTON — An exhibit of Gene Davis’ work “Hot Beat” is currently running at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. At “Hot Beat,” visitors can view Davis’ signature art, which is defined by his unprecedented use of multi-colored, rhythmic stripes.

The title of Davis’ exhibit is also the namesake of one of his artworks. “Hot Beat”, like many of his other paintings, has a repeating motif of one color surrounded by colors that pop out and play with the notions of the viewer.


Center Stage: Noguchi's art is perfect blend of the ancient and modern

WASHINGTON – At an exhibit entitled “Isamu Noguchi: Archaic/Modern”, the art of sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi is on display.

Noguchi, a biracial artist of western and Japanese descent built bridges between opposing ideas. Noguchi’s art reconciled the modernism of the 1960s and his own fascination of archaic structures. His art represented both western and Japanese themes, whether it was inspired by the ruins of Machu Picchu or Japanese lanterns.

His art, although sometimes comprised of simple geometric shapes, is not necessarily minimalist.

In each of his themes—outer space, the atomic age, his patents, or the landscape—there are many different, strong ideas represented through his fascination with ancient art pervading ideas of modernism.


Beall-Dawson House plays host to unique museum experience

ROCKVILLE – The Beall-Dawson Museum is hosting “Cocktails, Lipstick & Jazz”, a new exhibit about feminine fashions at the turn of the 20th century.

Hosted at the historic Beall-Dawson House in Rockville, the museum is unique for being located within a historic landmark.

The house, originally owned by Upton Beall, was passed onto his wife after his death. After his passing, Beall’s wife nor his daughters ever married, and the house was solely owned by women for a period of time; a rare occurrence in the 19th century.

Since then, the Beall-Dawson house has become a site for exhibitions by the Historical Society, recently renamed Montgomery History.


Center Stage: Discovering photography that redefines the medium

Arts column - photography artOne of the photographs displayed in the "Photography Reinvented" exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. COURTESY PHOTO  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Although photography is synonymous with documenting reality rather than altering it, the collection of Robert E. Meyerhoff and Rheda Becker challenges this notion by presenting photographs that redefine the medium.

The exhibit, entitled “Photography Reinvented,” is a collection of 35 photographs by 18 critically acclaimed artists. Rather than simply capturing a single moment in time, some of these photos create an altered sense of reality.


Center Stage: A unique twist on contemporary art at Smithsonian


WASHINGTON D.C. – The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery” is an exhibit showcasing many different modes of art, with a unique twist.

Instead of ordering the art pieces by medium, artist, or time period into their own separate areas, “Connections” places the art randomly throughout the halls and connects each art piece with another through a common idea.

For example, next to the description of Viktor Schreckengost’s “Apocalypse ‘42”, a terracotta caricature of Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini riding a berserk horse is a small icon of another art piece, “Batman 2”.

A dotted line leads to the “Batman” art in question: a full-body, knit costume by Mark Newport parodying Hollywood’s traditional view of the masculine superhero.

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