Things to Do

Art Exhibitions, Gallery Openings, and Events in October

See Ai Weiwei and Roy Lichtenstein retrospectives, explore Jules Olitski, and pit vampires against zombies in Washington this month.

“Forever,” 2003. Image courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Watanabe Osamu/courtesy of Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.


Open through December 21 in the
National Gallery of Art’s West Building is
“The Serial Portrait: Photography and Identity in the Last One Hundred Years,” images by 20 artists that look at the evolution of portrait photography in the 20th
century. Included are such masters as Alfred Stieglitz, Harry Callahan, and Paul Strand.
Through December 31.

Two Detroit-focused photography exhibits are running concurrently at the
National Building Museum.
“Detroit Is No Dry Bones” encompasses images Camilo José Vergara took over the past 25 years, capturing the
city’s loss of 60 percent of its population.
“Detroit Disassembled” features pictures of
physical dilapidation taken by Andrew Moore. See our review
of the

Through February 18.

At the
National Museum of the American Indian,
“Arctic Journeys/Ancient Memories: The Sculpture of Abraham Anghik Ruben” explores the Inuit artist’s sculptures, inspired by spiritual tales of adventurers
and travelers. The British Columbia sculptor carves his ornate, primitive-inspired
works out of soapstone. October 4 through January 2.

October 6 through Janaury 6, the
Phillips Collection presents the first major US exhibit of works by
Per Kirkeby, whose brightly colored canvases
and sculptures have made him one of Denmark’s greatest
artists. London’s Tate Modern and Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of
Modern Art have done
retrospectives of his work. The former geologist draws
inspiration from the natural
world. To see more on Kirkeby, read our

In what might be one of the biggest shows of the fall,
“Ai Weiwei: According to What?,” the
Hirshhorn gives the Chinese dissident artist and activist his first American retrospective.
The show includes hundreds of photographs as well as the artist’s playful, large-scale
installations. October 7 through February 24.

Portraiture meets verse in
“Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets” at the
National Portrait Gallery. The exhibit examines poetry’s history and significance in America via quotations,
audiovisual clips, and portraits of Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost, Langston
Hughes, and others. October 12 through April 28.

National Gallery of Art’s East Building hosts the first major exhibit of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s work since his death
15 years ago.
“Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” comprises more than 100 paintings, including his comic-strip-inspired works, alongside
drawings and sculptures. October 14 through January 13.


Continuing at
Flashpoint through November 3 is
Mariah Anne Johnson: In the Pines—a showcase
for Johnson’s brightly colored, repurposed

Through November 28, the
Women’s National Democratic Club displays early prints and drawings by WPA-commissioned artist
Benjamin Abramowitz, who died last year.

Through December 14, the
Luther W. Brady Gallery at GWU presents
“Jules Olitski on an Intimate Scale,” exploring the American abstract painter’s smaller works.

Rulemaker: Becca Kallem and Matthew Smith is at
Arlington Arts Center from October 3 through December 23. The show features Kallem’s ordered, kaleidoscopic
paintings with Smith’s fusions of painting and quilting techniques.

October 4 through November 5, the Art League displays
“Tierra y Memoria,” a show of paintings and linocuts by Honduras artist
Juan Hernandez.

At the
Fridge October 6 through 28 is
“Quiet Walks in Dangerous Places,” an exhibition of work by the graffiti artist ULTRA.

October 10 through January 12,
Zenith Gallery hosts
The Poetic Dimensions of Symbols and Shapes,” an exhibition of sculpture and mixed-media works by Pattie Porter Firestone and Andrea

Opening at the
Folger Library
October 16 is
“Very Like a Whale,” an exhibition of photographs by Rosamund Purcell inspired by scientific knowledge
in the 16th and 17th centuries.

“Mobile Works,” opening at
Workhouse Arts Center October 26, displays
images taken by cell phones using traditional photographic


Phillips After 5 returns October 4 with
Vampires vs. Zombies,” a collaborative event
with the Washington

(e)merge art fair returns for its second year this weekend, and it’s probably going to be huge. The
opening night party October 4 features Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation and a poolside
party at—where else?—
Capitol Skyline.

Artisphere celebrates its
second anniversary this weekend with a public
sound installation, deejay performances, theatrical workshops,

DC Fine Arts Photography Fair comes to
Columbia Heights October 5 through 7.

The 13th annual
DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival is at the
Sackler October 4 through 14.

On October 9 and 10, French artist JR will install a mural at
14th and T streets.

October 10 at the
American Art Museum, the
New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik discusses
What Makes American Art American?

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center is having a
DIY yard sale and crafting event October 13.

The second annual
Maryland Festival of the Arts comes to
Silver Spring October 13 and 14.

Kids Euro Festival returns October 17 through November 14.

October 18, the
Smithsonian Associates host
A Star Party: Cocktails Under African Skies
at the National Museum of African

Bethesda Row Arts Festival is October 20 and 21.

October 29 through November 4, the
Torpedo Factory celebrates
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, with a costume and dance party.