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May Art in Washington: Museum Exhibitions, Gallery Shows, and Events

See work crafted for the Ballets Russes by Picasso, Matisse, and Chanel at the National Gallery, as well as hand-painted street art at the Fridge.

Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and tennis’s Althea Gibson—Time magazine covers by Boris Chaliapin, at the National Portrait Gallery. Photographs courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery.

Museum Exhibitions

The Kreeger Museum inaugurates its newly installed reflecting pool May 1 with “Inventions,” an exhibition of sculpture by local artist John L. Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss explores concepts of form and space, incorporating design elements from aeronautical and architectural structures. Ongoing.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts collaborates with the Italian Embassy to present “Bice Lazzari: Signature Line,” an exhibition featuring work by the 20th-century Italian abstract artist. May 10 through September 22.

Opening at the National Gallery May 12 is “Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes,” an exhibit dedicated to the groundbreaking early 20th-century dance troupe. From 1909 to 1929 the group collaborated with artists and designers including Picasso, Matisse, and Coco Chanel on its lavish, inventive productions. Through September 2.

At the Hirshhorn Museum, “Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance” explores the career of the 45-year-old artist who won the prestigious 2012 Wein Prize for her collages, paintings, and installations forging connections between visual art and music. The show includes “Higher Resonance,” a sound installation that adapts the Hirshhorn’s circular architecture to play with acoustics. May 16 through October 27.

Boris Chaliapin illustrated 413 Time covers, including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Thelonious Monk, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy. Twenty-six from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection are on display in “Mr. Time: Portraits by Boris Chaliapin.” May 17 through January 5.

The National Gallery celebrates the 150th anniversary of Edvard Munch’s birth by presenting 20 works by the artist in the West Building. May 19 through July 28.

“Sylvan Sounds: Freer, Dewing, and Japan” looks at how Freer Gallery founder Charles Lang Freer was inspired to collect Japanese art thanks to the works of tonalist American painters such as Thomas Dewing, known for his Impressionist-like landscapes. The exhibition displays works by Dewing alongside Japanese prints and scrolls. May 28 through May 28, 2014.

Gallery Shows

“Julie Wolfe: Rewinding” continues at Hemphill through May 18, showing Wolfe’s meticulous, colorful patterns and constructions in paint.

Continuing at the Canadian Embassy through August 30 is “The Accessible Arctic,” a collection of photographs of the Arctic region published in Canadian Geographic.

May 4 through 26 at the Fridge is “… with love and care,” an exhibition of seven international artists known for displaying their hand-painted posters in public.

May 4 through June 29, Connersmith presents “Koen Vanmechelen: Leaving Paradise,” an exhibition of work by the Belgian mixed-media artist featuring live chickens, photography, sculpture, and more.

Bethesda’s Waverly Street Gallery displays “Fathom: A Sculptural Exploration of Another World,” featuring work by Liz Lescault and Alison Sigethy. Lescault works with clay, Sigethy with glass; both explore organic structures in their work. May 7 to June 8.

May 11 through June 20, Transformer showcases work by five Norwegian artists in “Terminators.” The show presents work in different media exploring notions of deconstruction and breakdown.

Opening at Flashpoint May 23 is “Victoria Fu: A Cloud Is Not a Sphere,” featuring still and moving images exploring time and memory. Through June 22.


May 3 at the Phillips Collection is the annual gala after-party, this year with a La Dolce Vita theme.

The Silver Spring Fine Arts Festival is May 4 and 5.

Phillips After 5 returns May 5 with a Hamptons theme. The event offers frozen custard from Shake Shack and music from the Marshall Keys Quartet.

Artisphere hosts “Visually Wired” May 9, an event showcasing work in design, film, visual effects, and audio organized by the Art Institute of Washington.

Also at Artisphere May 9 is “Mail Art With Craftgasm,” a crafting event open to the public that repurposes letters and stationery.

Alexandria’s Second Thursday event on May 9 includes live music and food and drink at the area’s art galleries.

May 11, artist Mary Borgman offers a drawing lesson at the National Portrait Gallery and gives a lecture regarding her work (currently featured in “Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge”). The museum also hosts a contemporary portraiture family day May 12.

The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival returns to Reston Town Center May 17 through 19.

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