Visual Arts Spring Preview

‘Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan’
(opens March 5)
Freer – Sackler

Decades of civil unrest that began in the 1970s nearly destroyed Afghanistan’s distinct artistic culture, a blend of traditions from India, Persia and Central Asia. Many of Afghanistan’s artisans were forced to leave their country or give up their craft. The old city of Kabul, once a bustling center of craft and commerce, fell into ruin. The British non-governmental organization Turquoise Mountain, founded in 2006 at the joint request of the Prince of Wales and the President of Afghanistan, has transformed the Murad Khani district of Old Kabul from slum conditions into a vibrant cultural and economic center, founding Afghanistan’s premier institution for vocational training in the arts.

To share this transformative story of people, places and heritage in Afghanistan, the museum will recreate a visit to Old Kabul, transforming galleries into an Afghan caravanserai, complete with artisan stalls, architectural elements, immersive video, large-scale photographs and demonstrations by visiting artisans from Murad Khani.?

‘Hollywood and Time: Celebrity Covers’
(opens April 1)
National Portrait Gallery

“Hollywood and Time” presents a selection of original cover art commissioned by Time magazine, highlighting Hollywood personalities who once graced theater marquees across the country. Focusing on 32 celebrities whose vision and talents carried us to different eras and exotic places, the exhibition displays vintage portraits and photographs of, among others: Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Diane Keaton, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen.

‘Senses of Time: Video- and Film-based Works of Africa’
(opens May 18)
National Museum of African Art

In “Senses of Time,” six internationally recognized African artists examine how time is experienced — and even produced — by the human body. Bodies stand, climb, dance and dissolve in seven works of video and film art. These time-based works by Sammy Baloji, Theo Eshetu, Moataz Nasr, Berni Searle, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Sue Williamson will repeat, resist and reverse the expectation that time must move relentlessly forward.

‘Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse’
(opens May 21)
National Building Museum

This exhibition reveals the stories behind iconic antique dollhouses from the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, taking visitors on a journey through the history of the English home, everyday lives and changing family relationships. The small stories of 12 dollhouses from the past 300 years are brought to life by imagining the characters that live or work there. “Meeting” the residents, visitors will discover tales of marriages, parties, politics and crime. The exhibition encompasses country mansions, the Georgian town house, suburban villas, newly built council estates and high-rise apartments.

‘Intersections: Photographs and Video from the NGA and the Corcoran Gallery of Art’
(opens May 29)
National Gallery of Art

Nearly 700 photographs from Eadweard Muybridge’s groundbreaking publication “Animal Locomotion,” acquired by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1887, became the foundation for the institution’s early interest in photography. The Key Set of more than 1,600 works by Alfred Stieglitz, donated by Georgia O’Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Estate, launched the photography collection at the National Gallery of Art in 1949. Inspired by these two seminal artists, Muybridge and Stieglitz, the exhibition brings together highlights of the recently merged collections of the Corcoran and the National Gallery of Art by a range of artists from the 1870s to today. The connections between the two photography collections will be explored through five themes — movement, sequence, narrative, studio and identity — found in the work of the two founding photographers.

‘Martin Puryear: Multiple Dimensions’
(opens May 27)
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Martin Puryear had his first solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. His drawings and prints are less well known than his elegant and playful sculptures, but they are equally essential to the artist’s studio practice. “Multiple Dimensions” is the first major exhibition to highlight these paper works, featuring over 50 drawings and prints, as well as 12 sculptures — many borrowed from the artist and never displayed before.

Several drawings and a maquette in the exhibition relate to his major outdoor sculpture at D.C.’s Ronald Reagan Building. The exhibition also features 14 works from the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection, including a portfolio of woodcuts and a major wood sculpture.?

‘Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World’
(closes March 20)
National Gallery of Art

A rare opportunity to view about 50 bronze sculptures from the Hellenistic period — between the fourth century B.C. and the first century A.D. — this exhibition draws on the collections of archaeological museums in the United States, Tunisia, Georgia and throughout Europe.

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