Things to Do

August Art in Washington

Museum exhibitions, gallery shows, and events to check out.

The Sackler Gallery presents a large-scale installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota beginning August 30. Photograph by Sunhi Mang.


“Hawaii by Air,” open at the National Air and Space Museum through July 25, 2015, explores the journey to one of the most remote US states, from the early days of flight to the present, as well as the impact of increased tourism on the area. 

At the National Geographic Museum August 5 through November 30 is “Mars Up Close,” an exhibit that lets visitors explore the red planet through images, interactive displays, a full-scale model of the Curiosity rover, and content from the new book Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission by Washington Post writer Marc Kaufman.

On display at the National Portrait Gallery beginning August 22 is “Portraiture Now: Staging the Self,” a bilingual exhibit in collaboration with the Smithsonian Latino Center that examines the works of Latino artists across a variety of media, questioning the idea that portraits can represent individuals’ identities. Through April 12. 

As part of the Sackler Gallery’s Perspectives series, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota constructs a large-scale installation of hundreds of pairs of shoes encased in a multitude of red threads attached to a single point. Visitors will get the chance to see the artist and watch the work being installed during a public viewing period August 18 through 21. The work is on display August 30 through June 7.


At the Torpedo Factory beginning August 5 is “Dog Days of Summer,” a fine art photography exhibit focused on depictions of sultry late-summer days. The show, juried by Kathleen Ewing, runs through August 31. 

The Art League’s “ ’Scapes,” running August 6 through September 8, exhibits a variety of scenes, from cityscapes to natural landscapes, done in a range of styles. 

August 8 through September 6 at Flashpoint is “Between Fact and Fiction,” a showcase of mechanical objects that artist Adam Hager has disassembled and reassembled in ways that flip their intended purpose. 

Gallery Underground presents “Making Their Mark: Art Brut,” an exhibition produced in collaboration with the art-therapy program Purple Art, which focuses on wounded veterans and individuals with disabilities. Through August 23.  

Washington Printmakers Gallery (in its new Georgetown space) hosts the 17th annual National Small Works Exhibition, featuring 50 prints by artists from all around the US. The exhibition is juried by American University’s Jack Rasmussen, and runs concurrently with a solo show by Diane Alire, the grand prize winner from 2013. Through August 31. 

“ApocalyptiCAT” at the Goethe-Institut displays a selection of woodcuts and papercuts by German artist Franca Bartholomäi. August 27 through October 10. 


This month’s Phillips After 5 happens on August 7. The theme is “American bounty,” and you’ll find food trucks, a bourbon tasting, and live bluegrass. 

On August 23, Torpedo Factory hosts its second Art Material Market, giving local artists a chance to buy, sell, and trade supplies used to make their crafts. 

Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.