Things to Do

February Art Exhibitions, Gallery Openings, and Museum Events in Washington

Color Field painters at the Hirshhorn, “American Cool” at the Portrait Gallery, and much more this month.

February 6 through 9, see The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer at Artisphere. Photograph by Michelle Robin Anderson.


“Gravity’s Edge” opens February 15 at the Hirshhorn, drawing from the museum’s permanent collection to explore how Color Field artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Kenneth Noland played with structure, depth, and space. Through June 15.

“American Cool,” at the National Portrait Gallery February 7 through September 7, attempts to define the quality of cool through 100 photographs of Americans who’ve embodied it at one point or another. The show includes images of people such as Greta Garbo, James Dean, Patti Smith, and Jay-Z, taken by photographers from Annie Leibovitz to Richard Avedon.

At the National Building Museum February 8 through May 18 is “The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley.” The show examines the outsize influence of the modernist landscape architect, who died in 2004.

The Hillwood Museum presents “Passion of the Empress: Catherine the Great’s Art Patronage” February 15 through June 8. The show looks at the artistic and cultural legacy of Catherine the Great, ruler of Russia from 1762 through 1796, whose patronage led craftsmen to produce a distinctive style of decorative art. The exhibit features items in gold, silver, and ceramics.

In “Chigusa and the Art of Tea,” the Sackler Gallery explores the links between visual art and the Asian culture of tea. February 22 through July 7.

Opening February 23 at the National Gallery of Art is “Modern German Prints and Drawings from the Kainen Collection.” More than 120 works recently donated to the National Gallery by Ruth Kainen go on display in this look at German expressionism featuring pieces by Carl Willhelm Kolbe, Ludwig Meidner, Max Klinger, and more. Through June 29.

“Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection,” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum February 28 through August 17, compiles more than 70 pieces from a body of work donated to the museum in 1986. The show examines strains of American realism, from politics to satire, and includes paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Isabel Bishop, and others.


“Sonya Clark: Black and White and Thread All Over” is at George Mason University’s Fine Art Gallery through February 21, revealing textiles exploring race and identity.

Through February 22, catch the third and final installment of Washington Project for the Arts Lobby Project, bringing pop-up installations to office lobbies in NoMa. “You Don’t Actually Think . . .” by Edmond van der Bijl carves vividly colored words out of pizza boxes at 1200 First Street, Northeast.

“Holly Trostle Brigham: Dis/guise” runs through February 28 at George Washington University’s Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, displaying mythology-inspired portraits by the GWU alum.

“Transforming Cityscapes: Winning Entries of the 8th Ibero-American Architecture and Urban Design Biennial” runs through March 16 at the Art Museum of the Americas.

“CSA: Forty Years of Community-Sourced Art” runs through April 18 at the Arlington Arts Center, celebrating the institution’s anniversary with an exhibition of work by artists it has helped to nurture.

At Hemphill through March 29 are “Marley Dawson: Statics and Dynamics,” revealing experimental kinetic sculptures by the Australian artist, and “Martin Puryear: Recent Prints,” displaying works on paper by the Washington-born sculptor.

February 7 through March 1, Hillyer Art Space displays work by Nancy Agati and Rosa Spina, each of whom uses stitching as a form of drawing, and Radio Sebastian, who layers ink, paint, and pencil to “map” imagined spaces.

February 8 through March 3, new experimental Adams Morgan exhibition space Hierarchy presents two shows by local artists Cory Oberndorfer and DECOY with help from the pop-up artist group No Kings Collective.

February 8 through March 15, Transformer presents “HomoCats: Fight the Power,” an exhibition featuring a large-scale installation and photographs by J. Morrison riffing off of the internet’s cat-obsessed culture.

February 8 through March 28, WPA presents print and video works by Jacolby Satterwhite, whose video “Reifying Desire 6” premieres at the Whitney Biennial later this year. Satterwhite performs in person at the opening February 8.

February 15 through March 29, ConnerSmith presents video and photography by Swedish artist Maria Friberg in “Between Solitude and Belonging.”

February 15 through March 29, “Stitched DC” at the Anacostia Arts Center displays work by 24 area quilters.

Opening at Artisphere February 27 is the Washington Project for the Arts annual showcase of local work. “Select 2014: WPA Art Auction Exhibition and Gala” features artists such as Frank Hallam Day, Katherine Tzu-lan Mann, Holly Bass, and many more. Through March 21.


February 6 through 9, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer comes to Artisphere, fusing visual art, music, animation, and performance.

The National Museum of African Art, celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, hosts a weaving workshop with Kwasi Asare February 8.

February 15 through 17, the National Portrait Gallery presents a special installation in the Viewpoint of Billions series. “Portrait of America” reveals images from American culture when seen through Google Glass (which will be on hand for people to test).

February 22, the National Museum of African Art hosts “Earth Matters, Fashion Matters,” an evening of music and sustainable fashion with a performance by Les Nubians.