Things to Do

May Art Preview

Highlights this month include two Miró exhibitions, new works by Leo Villareal, and the return of Artomatic.

“Portrait of Black Madonna” by Benny Andrews, from the American Art Museum’s “African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond.” © Estate of Benny Andrews/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.


The biggest show of the month (if not the summer) is
Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, which opens
in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building this weekend. We got an
early look on Tuesday and the show is
quite breathtaking, while also providing a mind-bogglingly
thorough analysis of the veiled political references in Miró’s
work. Through August 12.

If you just can’t get enough as far as surrealist, dadaist Catalan painters and their railings against bourgeois capitalist
society are concerned, you can see even more Miró at the
Museum this month. To coincide with the
National Gallery’s show, the Glover Park museum is displaying the
entirety of its Miró collection
for the first time, including the 36-piece “Mallorca Suite” and
the epic “Makimono.” Through July

Are adorable animal pictures art? Who cares–they’re adorable. The latest finalists in the
Windland Smith Rice International Awards
are on display at the Museum of Natural History, and include
such charming images as giraffes hugging, baby elephants
falling over, and baby polar bears waving. Check out our slideshow
of images
from the collection for a

It’s the last chance to see
Alyson Shotz: Ecliptic,” which closes at the
Phillips Collection May 27. Part of the Intersections series, the
exhibit consists of three large-scale
yarn works, looped over nails in repetitive patterns to create

Examples of Japan’s most elegant silk fabrics are on display in
The Woven Treasures of Japan’s Tawaraya Workshop.” The workshop, which makes fabrics for the imperial family, has been in operation for 500 years; current head
Hyoji Kitagawa helped curate the colorful exhibit. Through August 12.

Lalla Essaydi: Revisions–opening May 9 at
the National Museum of African Art–showcases work by the contemporary
Moroccan-born artist, known for her
enigmatic images of women. In one photographic series, “Les
Femmes du Maroc,” Essaydi covers walls, floors, fabrics, and even
her models in hennaed Arabic script. May 9 through February

Opening May 19 at the Phillips is
Sandra Cinto: One Day, After the Rain,” an
exhibition of ink and acrylic drawings by the Brazilian contemporary
artist. They’ll be on display in the cafe through
the end of the
Cinto also discusses her work
in person May 19.


At Studio Gallery through May 19 is
This is Where You Are,” a show of moody
charcoal figure drawings by photographer-turned-artist Elizabeth McNeil

Jackie Battenfield: Field Notes runs through
May 26 at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, displaying leaf-strewn paintings on
paper and DurLar

Through May 31, the Adamson Gallery presents
Dicotyledon,” an exhibition of grouped photographs by Renate Aller.

May 4 through 27, the Fridge presents the
DC Latino Collective Art Show. Opening night,
May 4, features music by Machetres and a performance by Quique Aviles;
Latino Poetry Night is May 26.

The Honfleur Gallery joins forces with the Alliance Française of Washington to present
Le Temps Devant,” an exhibition of
photographs exploring life in the French countryside by Frédéric
Nauczyciel. May 4 through June 29.

Opening at Flashpoint May 6 is
Lisa Dillin: The Alternate Present.” The show reveals some of Dillin’s most recent sculptures, which traverse boundaries between natural and man-made environments.
Through June 2.

Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory explores the changing nature of photography in
Diverging Mediums: Photography vs. iPhoneography,” May 10 through 31.

Also navigating the boundaries of art and social media is
Like. Comment. Share.,” an exhibition at Katzen Arts Center curated by 18 students at American University. The show encourages responses, so bring
your smartphone.

May 12 through June 30, Conner Contemporary has an exhibition of new work by light artist
Leo Villareal, he of National Gallery moving
walkway light installation


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyondat
the American Art

I Spy: Photography and the Theater of the Street, 1938-2010
at the National


Probably the biggest art event of the month, if not the year, returns May 18 when
Artomatic takes up residence in Crystal City.
The event acts as a showcase for artists everywhere, offering up visual
art, music, film,
poetry, design, performance art, and more, and runs through
June 23. For a full list of events, visit the website.

Tonight, May 3, the monthly
Phillips After 5 event has a Dutch theme in honor of the Snapshot exhibition, and includes music, gallery talks, a cash bar, and a performance
by the DC Retro Jumpers–a double-dutch jump-rope squad.

Architect and professor
Lance J. Brown
discusses the tricky
relationship between public spaces and the Occupy movement at the
National Building Museum May

May 10, 24, and 25, the National Gallery screens a series of documentary shorts about Miró made by his friend,
Pere Portabella.

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival is May 12 and 13.

Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, discusses his experiences working there and at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art in New York at the Phillips May 17.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
returns to Reston Town Center May 18 through 20.