Art to See in Washington in February: Museum Exhibits, Gallery Shows, and Art Events

See Pre-Raphaelites, graffiti by Cool Disco Dan, movie star Polaroids, and more this month.

By: Sophie Gilbert

Museum Exhibits

Opening at the Corcoran February 23 is “Pump Me Up: DC Subculture of the 1980s,” a show curated by graffiti historian and film producer Roger Gastman. The groundbreaking exhibition looks at the cultural movements of go-go, punk, and graffiti that thrived in DC in the 1980s—a decade otherwise blighted by crime and crack. Through April 7.

At the National Gallery of Art, “Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900” is the first major US show dedicated to a group of artists that included painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais and designer/writer William Morris. The exhibit, comprising more than 130 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, is accompanied by a smaller one looking at the group’s designs for books.

Also at the NGA, “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, encompasses 200-plus photographs showing how artists played tricks on viewers without software. February 17 through May 5.

The Phillips Collection explores the work of three artists and friends, two well-known and one less so, in “Angels, Demons, and Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet.” The show reveals the personal and artistic relationships between the pair and aims to highlight Alfonso Ossorio, whose body of work is often overlooked by art historians. February 9 through May 12.

“Shooting Stars: Publicity Stills From Early Hollywood and Portraits by Andy Warhol,” opening at the Corcoran February 9, explores fame and the silver screen through Polaroids and promotional photographs of actors displayed alongside black-and-white works by Warhol. Through April 21.

Opening February 2 at the Freer Gallery of Art, “Arts of Japan: Edo Aviary and Poetic License” includes two shows highlighting some of the Freer’s masterpieces from the Edo period, which spanned the early 17th to late 19th centuries. “Edo Aviary” showcases spectacular stylized paintings of birds, while “Poetic License” reveals how literary traditions in Japanese culture influenced art. Through August 4.

Opening at the National Museum of Women in the Arts February 15 is “A World Apart: Anna Ancher and the Skagen Art Colony.” The show looks at Ancher, a Danish painter and a key figure in the Skagen group, an Impressionist-influenced movement working in northern Denmark at the turn of the 20th century.

On display alongside the Anna Ancher show is “Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape,” an exhibit of paintings by Grand, an artist living in Washington who is known for monumental landscapes and murals documenting striking parts of the world from Ecuador to Scotland. February 1 through May 5.

“Bound for Freedom’s Light: African Americans and the Civil War,” opening at the National Portrait Gallery February 1, marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation by exploring the experiences of activists and artists such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass. Through 2013.

One of the features of the Kennedy Center’s Nordic Cool festival is “New Nordic—Architecture and Identity,” an exhibition from Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art looking at Scandinavian design and architecture. It runs February 20 through March 17 at the KenCen.

“Pageant of the Tsars: The Romanov Coronation Albums” opens at the Hillwood Museum February 16, revealing ornate albums created over the reign of the Romanov dynasty. Through June 8.

Gallery Shows

At Studio Gallery through February 23 are “Solo Show: Shadows,” featuring black-and-white mixed-media collages by Peter Karp, and “Rough/Smooth/Evolving” by Trish Palasik, who crafts abstract figures in bronze.

The Goethe-Institut displays “Facing Democracy” through February 24, showing photography, art, and video by three artists documenting the Occupy protests.

“Andrei Molodkin: Crude” continues at American University’s Katzen Arts Center through March 17, featuring the Russian artist’s mixed-media installations filled with crude oil.

Also at Katzen Arts Center is “Grisha Bruskin: H-Hour,” displaying a new sculpture project exploring ideas about enemies. Through March 17.

“Andrea Way: Retrospective 1982-2012” is on display at the same venue in a show looking at the local artist’s intricately detailed ink drawings on paper. Through March 17.

February 2 through March 3 at Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery, “Fabricated: An Exhibition of Wearable Art” displays juried items fusing fashion and art.

At the Fridge, DC artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer presents “Intimate Network,” an exhibition of her paintings looking at intimacy and relationships. February 2 through 24.

“Jimmy Miracle: Wearing Ethereal” opens February 8 at Flashpoint, displaying sculptures and photographs based around found items. Through March 9.

Connersmith has three shows open February 9 through March 30. “Lincoln Schatz: The Network” reveals the digital portrait of 89 different power players that Schatz first unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery late last year. “Benjamin Kelley: New Sculpture” explores themes of violence and industrial America through “recontextualized” found objects, while “Coble/Riley: Watermarks” presents performance-based videos filmed in an icy stretch of Sweden.

Art Events

The Hillwood Museum celebrates French culture with La Chandeleur, also known as crepe day, February 2.

Phillips After 5 returns February 7, this time with a carnival theme honoring Brazilian artist Sandra Cinto.

The Bethesda Art Walk is February 8.

Gallery 65 in Mclean has its grand opening February 16.

VisArts in Rockville celebrates the Lunar New Year February 16.

Designer Charlotte Moss discusses her work at the Hillwood Museum February 20.

Jeanne Silverthorne discusses the installation of her work at the Phillips Collection’s Intersections series February 28.