July Art Preview

See shows featuring Robert Weingarten, Willem de Kooning, and Willem van Aelst, and play mini golf at the National Building Museum this month.

By: Sophie Gilbert


“Abstract Drawings” continues at the Museum of American Art through January 6. Drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, the show features 46 works on paper by artists including Gene Davis, Willem de Kooning, and Man Ray.

Abstract expressionist Barnett Newman is the latest subject of the National Gallery’s In the Tower series, which explores artists from the mid-tenth century to the present in the East Building’s Tower Gallery. Newman, a Color Field painter, is known for his use of the “zip,” a distinct line dividing his work into different spaces. Through February 24.

At the National Museum of African Art, “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts” brings together 90-plus works revealing African interpretations of the universe and showing how celestial phenomena such as eclipses, stars, and rainbows have long inspired artists all over the world. Through December 9.

In the National Gallery’s West Building, “Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst” compares 29 oil paintings by the 17th-century Dutch artist, known for his elaborate, detailed style. Through October 14.

Robert Weingarten’s layered images capture the essence of cultural icons—minus their faces. He depicted actor Dennis Hopper by juxtaposing photos of a Harley Davidson, a girl in a swimsuit, and an LA street. “Pushing Boundaries: Portraits by Robert Weingarten” at the National Museum of American History features 16 “portraits” of people including Chuck Close and Sandra Day O’Connor. Through October 14.

“Directions: Antonio Rovaldi” opens at the Hirshhorn July 6 and features a large-scale video projection of Italian baseball player Fabio Betto smashing tchotchkes with pitches. Yes, really.

And it isn’t, strictly speaking, a show, but it’s worth noting that you can play mini golf in the National Building Museum through the rest of the summer. This is no average putt-putt course: The 12 different holes have been custom-designed by institutions such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, DAVIS Construction, and Hanley Wood. $5 per round per person, or $3 with museum admission.


Pepco’s Edison Place Art Gallery presents “Sculpture Now 2012,” an exhibition of contemporary sculpture curated by the Corcoran’s Sarah Newman. Through July 13.

Robert Brown Gallery is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary with an exhibition revealing work from the past three decades. The show includes prints by Mel Bochner and a mixed-media work by Deborah Bell. Through July 14.

Through July 28, International Visions hosts “Passages,” an exhibition of photographs by Anthony Barboza showcasing his travels across Africa.

Through July 29, Touchstone presents “A 3D Collage: The Adventure” by David Alfuth, which riffs on old engravings and modern techniques.

Also through July 29, catch “Suzanne: Works from the 2012-13 VCUarts Sculpture MFA Graduate Class” at Artisphere.

“Rob McDonald: Native Ground” continues at Athenaeum through August 5, presenting photographic landscapes and portraits of the Deep South by the Virginia-based artist.

“Mexico: Expected/Unexpected” at the Katzen Arts Center is a joint project with the Mexican Cultural Institute, and features a broad swath of work by contemporary Mexican artists as well as others who’ve been inspired by the country. Through August 12.

Hillyer Art Space presents a collaborative exhibition between two artists. “Paint on Known” features photography-inspired paintings by Dutch native Chajana DenHarder and Jamaica-born Deborah Anzinger, both of whom live in Washington. July 6 through 28.

Local married couple Dana Ellyn and Matt Sesow showcase some of their satirical, politically inspired paintings at the Fridge DC in “Stocking the Fridge.” July 7 through 29.

Opening July 20 at Flashpoint is “Hana Kim & Shana Kim: Atmospheric Front.” The show explores architecture and interactive media through an installation that features woven fabrics, machinery, and sound and light projections. Through August 18.


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues through July 8 on the Mall. This year’s themes are Campus and Community, celebrating the 150th anniversary of land-grant universities and the Department of Agriculture; Citified, focused on creativity east of the Anacostia River; and Creativity and Crisis, in honor of the AIDS Memorial Quilt’s 25th anniversary.

Phillips After Five returns July 5, this time with a British-themed event dedicated to the museum’s Antony Gormley show.

Africa Underground, the National Museum of African Art’s regular music and art event, returns July 13, with entertainment by DJ T and Eme & Heteru. Tickets aren’t available at the door, but you can buy them online.

The Bethesda Art Walk returns July 13, with the Bethesda Artist Market also coming to Norfolk Avenue July 14.

July 21, the National Gallery presents a screening of films by experimental filmmaker Mark Street.

July 25 and 26 at the Corcoran, the museum hosts “Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey in Verse,” a poetry, photography, and music event featuring Dawes, Kevin Simmonds, Andre Lambertson, and more.