The biggest show of the month (if not the summer) is “Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape,” which opens in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building this weekend. We got an early look on Tuesday and the show is quite breathtaking, while also providing a mind-bogglingly thorough analysis of the veiled political references in Miró’s work. Through August 12.
If you just can’t get enough as far as surrealist, dadaist Catalan painters and their railings against bourgeois capitalist society are concerned, you can see even more Miró at the Kreeger Museum this month. To coincide with the National Gallery’s show, the Glover Park museum is displaying the entirety of its Miró collection for the first time, including the 36-piece “Mallorca Suite” and the epic “Makimono.” Through July 31.
Are adorable animal pictures art? Who cares—they’re adorable. The latest finalists in the Windland Smith Rice International Awards are on display at the Museum of Natural History, and include such charming images as giraffes hugging, baby elephants falling over, and baby polar bears waving. Check out our slideshow of images from the collection for a preview.
It’s the last chance to see “Alyson Shotz: Ecliptic,” which closes at the Phillips Collection May 27. Part of the Intersections series, the exhibit consists of three large-scale yarn works, looped over nails in repetitive patterns to create planet-like structures.
Examples of Japan’s most elegant silk fabrics are on display in “The Woven Treasures of Japan’s Tawaraya Workshop.” The workshop, which makes fabrics for the imperial family, has been in operation for 500 years; current head Hyoji Kitagawa helped curate the colorful exhibit. Through August 12.
“Lalla Essaydi: Revisions”—opening May 9 at the National Museum of African Art—showcases work by the contemporary Moroccan-born artist, known for her enigmatic images of women. In one photographic series, “Les Femmes du Maroc,” Essaydi covers walls, floors, fabrics, and even her models in hennaed Arabic script. May 9 through February 12.
Opening May 19 at the Phillips is “Sandra Cinto: One Day, After the Rain,” an exhibition of ink and acrylic drawings by the Brazilian contemporary artist. They’ll be on display in the cafe through the end of the year. Cinto also discusses her work in person May 19.
At Studio Gallery through May 19 is "This is Where You Are," a show of moody charcoal figure drawings by photographer-turned-artist Elizabeth McNeil Harris.
"Jackie Battenfield: Field Notes" runs through May 26 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, displaying leaf-strewn paintings on paper and DurLar panels.
Through May 31, the Adamson Gallery presents "Dicotyledon," an exhibition of grouped photographs by Renate Aller.
May 4 through 27, the Fridge presents the DC Latino Collective Art Show. Opening night, May 4, features music by Machetres and a performance by Quique Aviles; Latino Poetry Night is May 26.
The Honfleur Gallery joins forces with the Alliance Française of Washington to present "Le Temps Devant," an exhibition of photographs exploring life in the French countryside by Frédéric Nauczyciel. May 4 through June 29.
Opening at Flashpoint May 6 is "Lisa Dillin: The Alternate Present." The show reveals some of Dillin's most recent sculptures, which traverse boundaries between natural and man-made environments. Through June 2.
Alexandria's Torpedo Factory explores the changing nature of photography in "Diverging Mediums: Photography vs. iPhoneography," May 10 through 31.
Also navigating the boundaries of art and social media is "Like. Comment. Share.," an exhibition at Katzen Arts Center curated by 18 students at American University. The show encourages responses, so bring your smartphone.
May 12 through June 30, Conner Contemporary has an exhibition of new work by light artist Leo Villareal, he of National Gallery moving walkway light installation fame.
"African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond" at the American Art Museum.
"I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938-2010"
at the National
Probably the biggest art event of the month, if not the year, returns May 18 when Artomatic takes up residence in Crystal City. The event acts as a showcase for artists everywhere, offering up visual art, music, film, poetry, design, performance art, and more, and runs through June 23. For a full list of events, visit the website.
Tonight, May 3, the monthly Phillips After 5 event has a Dutch theme in honor of the Snapshot exhibition, and includes music, gallery talks, a cash bar, and a performance by the DC Retro Jumpers--a double-dutch jump-rope squad.
Architect and professor Lance J. Brown discusses the tricky relationship between public spaces and the Occupy movement at the National Building Museum May 9
May 10, 24, and 25, the National Gallery screens a series of documentary shorts about Miró made by his friend, Pere Portabella.
The Bethesda Fine Arts Festival is May 12 and 13.
Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, discusses his experiences working there and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at the Phillips May 17.
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival returns to Reston Town Center May 18 through 20.