Things to Do

Great Art to See in Washington This September

Museum exhibits, gallery shows, and events.

“Milky Way Over Second Beach” by Joe LeFevre is part of the Natural History Museum's “Wilderness Forever: Celebrating 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wilderness.”


“From Neoclassicism to Futurism: Italian Prints and Drawings 1800-1925” at the National Gallery of Art comprises some 80 prints, drawings, and more showcasing the contributions of Italians to modern art. September 1 through February 1. 

Also at the National Gallery“Modern American Drawings and Prints From the Kainen Collection”—the last in a series of three formed by the bequest of Ruth Cole Kainen—includes works from the first seven dec­ades of the 20th century. Highlights include a drip painting by Pollock and a work on newspaper by de Kooning. September 1 through February 1. 

In “Nasta’Liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy,” the Sackler Gallery looks at nasta’liq, a calligraphic script that developed in 14th-century Iran and eventually evolved into an art form. September 3 through March 22. 

To mark the anniversary of 1964’s Wilderness Act, the Natural History Museum presents “Wilderness Forever: Celebrating 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wilderness,” a collection of 50 large-scale photographs by professionals, amateurs, and students celebrating American landscapes. September 3 until 2015. 

“Emilie Brzezinski: The Lure of the Forest” at the Kreeger Museum showcases forms hand-sawed and chiseled from tree trunks, created by the Swiss-born sculptor (mother of Morning Joe cohost Mika Brzezinski). September 16 through December 27.

At the National Museum of African Art beginning September 17 is “Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin,” which delves into the history of Nigerian photography with works by Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, one of Nigeria’s premier early photographers. 

“Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852-1860” is the first major exhibit of works by this East India Company photographer, and includes images of architecture, landscapes, and geological formations in mid-19th-century India and what is now Myanmar, as well as in England. September 21 through January 4 at the National Gallery

“Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” at the National Museum of the American Indian is an exploration of Native American tribes’ relationship with the US government from Colonial times through today. September 21 through August 2018. 

The last of the baby boomers will turn 50 by the end of this year. To mark the milestone, the Newseum collaborated with photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders on the 19 portraits of notable members of the generation that make up “The Boomer List,” including musician Billy Joel, designer Tommy Hilfiger, and novelist Amy Tan. $22.95; September 26 through July 5.

With a 2013 acquisition of 54 pieces, the American Art Museum has one of the largest public collections of pieces by James Castle, an artist whose drawings, assemblages, handmade books, and other works are made even more remarkable by the fact that he was born deaf and was illiterate throughout his life. See them all in “Untitled: The Art of James Castle,” on view September 26 through February 1.

At the Phillips Collection September 27 through January 11 is “Neo-Impressionism and the Dream of Realities,” which includes works by Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Theo van Rysselberghe, and more.


Gallery Plan B has the fourth solo show by Sheep Jones, featuring works with her typical motifs of birds, vegetables, and shed-like buildings. September 6 through October 12. 

September 10 through October 6, Art League takes a look at contemporary realism with a show juried by Dorothy Moss of the National Portrait Gallery. 

Neptune Fine Art puts on “Raya Bodnarchuk: Bronze Sculpture,” a showcase of the modernist American’s works. September 12 through October 4. 

CulturalDC presents “Emily Francisco: Something Slightly Familiar,” an interactive audio-visual exhibit featuring looped videos, motion-activated sounds, and other components. Aft Flashpoint September 12 through October 11. 

Beginning September 12, the Robert Brown Gallery presents paintings, sculptures, and more by five South African artists. Through October 4. 

At Lorton’s Workhouse Arts Center September 12 through October 19 is “Earth and Fire,” an exhibit of ceramics from nine countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Workhouse also showcases artists from closer to home in “40 Years of Potomac Valley Watercolorists,” September 13 through October 25. 


This month’s Phillips After 5 happens September 4 and celebrates “the art of slowing down” with music from the Marshall Keys quartet, food from Blue Duck Tavern, and more. 

The National Museum of Women in the Arts hosts its monthly free community day on September 7. 

The King Street Art Festival returns September 13 and 14, turning Alexandria’s main drag into open-air galleries featuring works by around 200 artists. 

The 2014 Nuit Blanche, September 27, expands outside of Shaw to include Dupont Circle, North Capitol, H Street, Northeast, and Congress 

During the Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day Live, on September 27, get free admission to the Crime Museum, the National Building Museum, and other participating institutions. See the website for the full list.