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September Art Preview

The Hirshhorn and the National Gallery of Art are focusing on pop artist Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s “Shadows.” Photograph by Bill Jacobson, courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum.

Despite his infamous quote about 15 minutes of fame, Andy Warhol is enjoying an extended period of celebrity more than 24 years after his death. The pop artist and filmmaker is the subject of not one but two major exhibitions opening this month, both of which explore less familiar aspects of his work. “Warhol: Headlines,” opening September 25 at the National Gallery of Art, is the first show to focus on Warhol’s obsession with media, including 80 works in which he explored tabloid news. “Warhol was so prolific that I think this is a body of work that has never been defined before,” says curator Molly Donovan. “As an artist, he riveted the public’s attention in the same way the tabloids do.”

Also opening on the same day at the Hirshhorn Museum is “Andy Warhol: Shadows,” a single work made up of 102 panels on loan from the Dia Art Foundation in New York. Says the Hirshhorn’s Evelyn Hankins: “The alternating colored panels have different shadowy surfaces painted on them, so we expect the show to be very cinematic, with a range of colors and shadows and light.”

The two institutions are also collaborating on a series of planned events, titled “Warhol on the Mall.” We’ll have more on specifics next month, but keep an eye out if you happen to be passing that way. Both exhibitions are free, and you can find more information at the National Gallery’s Web site and the Hirshhorn’s Web site.

This week only, the National Museum of American History is displaying more than 50 objects recovered from the terrorist attacks of September 11. “September 11: Remembrance and Reflection,” timed to mark the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, includes the door from a mangled New York fire truck, a map of the Pentagon, and other fragments, displayed on tables rather than behind glass. Through September 11; visit the museum’s Web site for more information.

Grand Empress Dowager Cixi, who headed China’s Qing dynasty until her death in 1908, is the focus of an exhibit at the Sackler Gallery September 24 through January 29. “Power/Play: China’s Empress Dowager” demonstrates how she used photography, a relatively new technology, to boost her public image. The 35 glass-plate negatives, now in the museum’s collection, are the only portraits of their kind held outside China. For more information, visit the Sackler’s Web site.

“Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley” opens at the National Museum of African Art September 14, with more than 150 sculptures, masks, and ceramics dating from the late 19th to the late 20th century. Ceremonial masks demonstrate the connection between art and ritual in the interior African region. The show runs through March 4; more details are at the museum’s Web site.


Also This Month

The Arts on Foot festival returns to Penn Quarter September 10 and 11, bringing 120-plus arts and crafts vendors to F Street, as well as food from local restaurants, wine tastings and seminars, and interactive activities hosted by Dance Place, the Washington Ballet, the Newseum, and more. Visit for more information.

Also on September 10 and 11, Alexandria’s King Street Festival of the Arts brings art outdoors, with more than 200 artists represented in an exhibit on historic King Street. The Torpedo Factory Art Center and the Art League host demonstrations and other hands-on projects. Go to for details.

The Pastrana Tapestries go on display at the National Gallery September 18 through January 8, making this the first time the four 15th century Gothic works have been exhibited together in the United States. The tapestries were commissioned by Portugal’s King Afonso V in the late 1400s to commemorate his invasion of Morocco. Visit the NGA’s Web site for info.

The (e)merge art fair, at the Capitol Skyline Hotel September 22 through 25, is being touted as DC’s answer to Art Basel Miami Beach or the Venice Bienniale. Conner Contemporary Art, Pulse Contemporary Art Fair founder Helen Allen, and collector Mera Rubell are among the minds behind the fair, showcasing contemporary works by unrepresented artists. For more info, visit the show’s Web site.

September 24, Art All Night: Nuit Blanche DC returns, celebrating contemporary art in different venues from Chinatown to Shaw. For a full list of events and artists, visit Art All Night’s Web site.

The Goethe Institut in Penn Quarter has an exhibition of works by photographer Friederike Brandenburg, September 8 through November 4. “Left Behind” looks at the visual and physical remnants of human occupation in otherwise flawless natural landscapes. For details, visit the Institut’s Web site.

Trinidad gallery G Fine Art celebrates its 10th anniversary this month with “There is No Rising or Setting Sun,” an exhibition of mixed-media works by Maggie Michael. Michael, a Washington resident, has had her work displayed at the Corcoran, the Hirshhorn, George Mason University, and more. Visit G Fine Art’s Web site for details.

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