Things to Do

August Art Preview

NASA celebrates 50 years with art it inspired, plus Asian-American portraiture gets a salute

William Wegman’s signature Weimaraners pose as astronauts in "Chip and Batty Explore Space," now on display at the National Air and Space Museum. Photograph courtesy of the NASA Art Program

Since 1962, NASA’s low-profile art program has commissioned almost 3,000 works capturing moments in its history. About 70 are currently on display at the National Air and Space Museum in “NASA Art: 50 Years of Exploration,” by artists ranging from Alexander Calder and Robert Rauschenberg to Andy Warhol and Annie Leibovitz. “Each had a different take,” says curator Tom Crouch. “Norman Rockwell and Fred Freeman were fascinated by the human beings who were part of the program, while artists like Jamie Wyeth preferred to paint intriguing space-age landscapes.” The show, which also includes video of a NASA-commissioned musical piece performed by the Kronos Quartet and a dress inspired by the Mars Rover, runs through October 9; see the Air and Space Museum’s Web site for more information.

Opening this month
New at the Hirshhorn in August is “Black Box: Nina Pereg,” a film installation inspired by a flock of flamingoes at the Karlsruhe Zoo in Germany. Pereg, an Israeli artist, has been featured in exhibitions at New York’s MoMA PS1 and the Santa Monica Museum of Art in the last two years. For details, visit the Hirshhorn’s Web site.

The National Portrait Gallery presents an exhibition dedicated to contemporary Asian-American portraiture August 12 through October 14, featuring work by seven artists from across the country. “Portraiture Now: Asian-American Portraits of Encounter” looks at different interpretations of what it means to be Asian-American, with artists including Cindy Hwang, Shizu Saldamando, and Satomi Shirai. For information, visit the Portrait Gallery’s Web site.

DC artist B.K. Adams (also known as bk.iamart.adams) gets a solo show at the Anacostia Community Museum this month. “Exercise Your Mynd,” running August 22 through November 27, displays paintings, sculpture, and video by the eccentric Anacostia artist, known for his vivid, Jackson Pollock-inspired style. Visit the museum’s site for more details.

Honfleur Gallery showcases the thriving arts scene in wards seven and eight this month with the fifth annual “East of the River” exhibition. The juried show, which runs August 5 through September 16, includes work by local artists Jonathan Edwards, Jon Malis, Lark Cateo-Emerson, Deborah Terry, Marlon Normon, and Danielle Scruggs. The gallery’s resident artist, Mei Mei Chang, also has an installation upstairs inspired by her two-month Anacostia residency. See for more information.

Local photographer, poet, and musician Thomas Sayers Ellis gets an exhibition at The Gallery at Vivid Solutions this month. “(Un)Lock It: The Percussive People in the Go-Go Pocket” takes an insider’s look at the DC go-go scene; Sayers’ subjects include Chuck Brown and Little Benny. August 5 through October 7. Visit Vivid Solutions’ Web site for more details.

A few more photo-specific shows worth checking out are “Photo 11” at Artisphere, and “David Emerick: Variations” and “Matt Crooks: Opposing Planes,” both at Hillyer Art Space in Dupont Circle. “Photo 11,” open through September 11, features works by 32 regional photographers selected by former Corcoran curator Amanda Maddox, out of a pool of over 400 submissions. Hillyer’s two shows, by St. Mary’s College of Maryland professor David Emerick and artist Matt Crooks, take different approaches to finding beauty in everyday landscapes. August 5 through August 25; visit the Hillyer’s Web site for more details.

Closing this month
Irvine Contemporary, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer, is also leaving its 14th and P streets, Northwest, location after five years. Visitors can say goodbye to the space while taking in “Artist Tribute 2,” an exhibition of new works by artists including Shepard Fairey, Melissa Ichiuji, Kerry Skarbakka, and Alexa Meade. Visit Irvine Contemporary’s Web site for information.

It’s the last chance to see “Fragments in Time and Space,” which closes at the Hirshhorn August 28. The exhibition, mostly made up of works from the museum’s permanent collection, features contemporary artists such as Thomas Eakins, Douglas Gordon, Richard Long, and more, who explore ways to look at dimensionality through art. For details, visit the Hirshhorn’s Web site.

“Charles Sandison: Rage, Love, Hope, and Despair” closes at the Corcoran August 14. Scottish-born Sandison’s large-scale light installation projects masses of moving text that represent human emotions. $10 (free on Saturdays). Visit the Corcoran’s Web site for details.

If Chris Martin has inspired you to paint big (but not quite that big), join ArtJamz at the Corcoran August 24 through 26 and create your own masterpiece. Canvases (22 inches by 28 inches) are provided, as are paint, beer, wine, music, and canapés. $65. Visit for more information.

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