Things to Do

November Art Preview

Fotoweek DC, Mel Bochner, Unbuilt Washington, and more on display this month.

Jane Hammond’s “My Heavens!” color lithograph will be part of the “Multiplicity” exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum starting on November 11.

With Fotoweek DC kicking off this weekend, more than ten museum shows opening, and a number of art-music mashups coming up, it’s fair to say that November is going to be a busy month. To celebrate the Phillips Collection’s 90th anniversary, entrance to the museum is free November 5 (which has officially been designated “Phillips Collection Day” by Mayor Gray). Stop by for complimentary access to the “Degas’s Dancers at the Barre” exhibition and the permanent collection, as well as gallery talks, dance and music performances, hands-on artmaking, and more.

We’ll be running a separate post about Fotoweek events later in the week, so stay tuned for that, but here are our picks for the must-see art happenings this month.


“Eye to Eye: Joseph Marioni runs at the Phillips Collection through January 29. Marioni plays with color, light, and texture in his signature application of large-scale blocks of paint. Weekend admission is $12 (or free November 5—see above); weekday admission by donation.

There are three new shows opening in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building this month. “Antico: The Golden Age of Renaissance Bronzes,” November 6 through April 8, showcases nearly 40 works by 16th-century Italian sculptor Pier Jacopo Alari Bonacolsi, known as Antico. His bronzes are in some of the world’s biggest museums, from the Met to the Louvre.

Also November 6 through April 8, the gallery’s In the Tower series presents 43 pieces by conceptual artist Mel Bochner, including several never before displayed. Bochner’s “Thesaurus” series—canvases covered with brightly painted synonyms—play with the boundaries between art and the written word.

November 7 through December 30, The Solemnity of Shadows: Juan Laurent’s Vision of Spain displays photographs by the 19th-century Spanish artist, whose prints of his country’s landmarks and cities became iconic during his lifetime.

At the Smithsonian American Art Museum, an exhibit drawn from the permanent collection looks at printmaking. “Multiplicity,” November 11 through March 11, compares 83 prints by masters including Chuck Close, John Cage, Sol LeWitt, and Kara Walker.

Three new displays opening at the Freer this month explore ancient traditions. “Silk Road Luxuries From China” examines the 2,000-year-old trade route stretching through Central Asia and how artifacts from the sixth, seventh, and eighth centuries reveal the influence of foreign imports and trends. “Cranes and Clouds: The Korean Art of Ceramic Inlay” and “Chinese Ceramics: 10th–13th Century,” which run in adjacent galleries, reveal the ornate designs and painstaking craft behind early Asian ceramics, including the Korean tradition known as sanggam.

At the National Museum of Women in the Arts through January 15, “Visions of the Orient: Western Women Artists in Asia 1900–1940” features 125 prints and paintings by Western artists whose work was influenced by Asia. Helen Hyde, Bertha Lum, Elizabeth Keith, and Lilian Miller—all of whom lived and worked in Japan—are the four main artists included. $10; free the first Sunday of the month.

Through January 7 at the National Museum of the American Indian is “A Song for the Horse Nation. A traveling exhibition from the museum’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York, it features 112 items tracing the relationship between Native American cultures and horses—including paintings, a 16-foot-high tepee decorated with equine images, beadwork, and other artifacts.

The National Building Museum has a major new show opening November 19. “Unbuilt Washington” reveals plans and blueprints for local landmarks that were never actually built, from pyramids for Abraham Lincoln to pagodas for George Washington. $8.



Remember Moby? He moonlights as a photographer, and you can see examples of his work in “Destroyed,” an exhibition at Irvine Contemporary through November 5.

November 1 through December 15, Aaron Gallery has an exhibition of abstract paintings by Herbert Sanchez and Javier Cabada. Cabada, a Spanish-American artist, lives in Washington and is best-known for his colorful portraits of composers and artists.

As part of Fotoweek DC, the Studio Gallery asked photography professors from several local universities for examples of their best work. The show runs through November 19, and includes photographs by Iwan Bagus, Peter Karp, and Veronica Szalus.

Heiner Contemporary has “Fold + Fracture, an exhibition of works by Jon-Phillip Sheridan through November 12. Sheridan, a photographer, explores texture in everyday items, from a pane of broken glass to a rumpled sheet of paper.

Washington Printmakers Gallery in Silver Spring has two new shows in November. “In the Vault: Edward McCluney” features lino prints, woodcuts, and silkscreens by McCluney, a former head of art classes at MIT. “Haven” features Pauline Jakobsberg’s prints and collages, inspired by the refugee experiences. Both shows run November 2 through 27.

November 2 through 27, the Foundry Gallery has “Journeys: New Works by Amy Barker-Wilson.” Barker-Wilson’s earthy abstract paintings are inspired by her travels in Spain and Turkey.

November 5 through December 11, Artisphere presents “Project 2011: Face to Face,” a cultural exchange between Arlington and the city of Aachen in Germany. In April, local artists went to Aachen to create site-specific works inspired by a 17th-century monastery, and the results of their trip will be on display.

“On the Lakeshore and Other Stories” opens November 10 at the Goethe Institut. The show displays work from German photographer Iris Janke and from Americans Sara J. Winston and Kaitlin Jencso, all of whom were inspired by the idea of self-identity.

Opening at Flashpoint November 10 is “Andy Holtin: A Theatre of Objects.” Holtin uses choreographed video footage combined with sculpture to explore the collaborative and accidental nature of performance.



November 2, DC Advocates for the Arts is hosting a meetup for “DC’s Creative Community” at James Hoban’s in Dupont Circle from 5 to 7 PM. In addition to the scintillating company, there will be $4 wine and rail drinks.

At the Corcoran November 3, iona rozeal brown, who’s featured in the gallery’s current “30 Americans” show, discusses her work and the influences behind it. 7 PM. $15 members, $20 nonmembers.

Contemporary artist Mel Bochner (see Museum Shows) joins National Gallery curator James Meyer on November 9 for a conversation about his work. 3:30 PM. Free.

November 5 through 10, H Street hosts two #DCResidence pop-up art events for DC Week. “The Home” (November 5 and 6) showcases local fashion, art, and crafts at 1629 L Street, Northeast; “The Parlour” (November 7 through 10) hosts lectures, music performances, and other events at a loft on H Street.

Musical duo Dean & Britta (formerly of Luna) perform the local premiere of “13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” at the National Gallery, November 12 at 4 PM. The performance is matched to images from Warhol’s Factory featuring Edie Sedgwick, Dennis Hopper, and more.