Spring into Museums

Eight Not to Miss Exhibitions

Berthe Morisot, The Harbor at Lorient, 1869, oil on canvas, overall: 43.5 x 73 cm (17 1/8 x 28 3/4 in.) framed: 64.7 x 95.2 x 7.6 cm (25 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 3 in.) Image: Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection

"Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism" at the NGA

Despite his contributions to the birth of impressionism, Frédéric Bazille (1841-1870) remains relatively unknown. A thematic presentation of 75 works including paintings by contemporaries such as Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir will bring to light Bazille’s place as a central figure. Several examples from the Gallery’s collection, which houses the largest group of Bazille’s works outside of France, will be featured in the first major American exhibition on the artist in almost 25 years. Paintings by his predecessors, Gustave Courbet and Théodore Rousseau, compared with those of Bazille, explore the sources and influences on this limited but visionary painter. "Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism" is at the National Gallery of Art, East Building, from April 9 to July 9. nga.gov. 

"Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors" at the Hirshhorn

“Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” is a celebration of the legendary Japanese artist’s sixty-five-year career and promises to be one of 2017’s essential art experiences. Visitors will have the unprecedented opportunity to discover six of Kusama’s captivating Infinity Mirror Rooms alongside a selection of her other key works, including several, never-before-shown paintings from her most recent series, “My Eternal Soul.” From her radical performances in the 1960’s, when she staged underground polka dot “Happenings” on the streets of New York, to her latest Infinity Mirror Room, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016, the Hirshhorn exhibition will showcase Kusama’s full range of talent for the first time in DC. Don’t miss this unforgettable sensory journey through the mind and legacy of one of the world’s most popular artists. "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors" is at the Hirshhorn, Feb. 23 to May 14. Timed-timed tickets are required. hirshhorn.si.edu.

"Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics" at Newseum

Through iconic artifacts, compelling images and multimedia experiences, the exhibit examines how music has influenced issues ranging from political campaigns to civil rights. Included in are John Lennon’s acoustic guitar from his 1969 Montreal and Amsterdam “Bed-Ins for Peace” with Yoko Ono, the Fender Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix used to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, stage costumes worn by the Village People and original handwritten lyrics to Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” Chuck Berry’s “School Day,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Green Day’s “American Idiot.” The exhibit also features artifacts related to the Vietnam War, the May 4, 1970 shooting at Kent State University, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics" is at Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, through July 31, includes exclusive video interviews with Bono, David Byrne, Dee Snider, Tom Morello, Lars Ulrich, Gloria Estefan, Gregg Allman, Ann Wilson and others. newseum.org.

"Boom! Artillery in the American Revolution" at Anderson House

To win their independence, Americans had to create an effective artillery service able to challenge the British on the battlefield. They had to do all of this with little experience or preparation, while fighting a war with a major European power with a well-trained professional army, the world's largest navy, factories to manufacture munitions, craft facilities to build and maintain equipment and a well-established system for recruiting and training artillerists.

"Boom! Artillery in the American Revolution” is on exhibition at Anderson House through March 26. It races the development of the Continental Artillery during the Revolutionary War, a process shaped by broader technological and organizational changes in artillery that transformed it into a dominant force on European and American war battlefields. Henry Knox is the central character in this story. Appointed colonel and given command of the Continental Artillery at the age of twenty-five, Knox drove the development of the artillery service for the entire Revolutionary War. Anderson House is at 2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW. societyofthecincinnati.org.

"The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture" by Jacob Lawrence at the Phillips

This exhibition features 15 rarely seen silkscreen prints created by American artist Jacob Lawrence (1917–2001) between 1986 and 1997. The series portrays the life of Toussaint L’Ouverture (1742–1803), the former slave turned leader of Haiti’s independence movement. L’Ouverture led the fight to liberate Saint-Domingue from French colonial rule and to emancipate the slaves during the 1791 Haitian Revolution, the first successful campaign to abolish slavery in modern history. Lawrence had explored the same subject more than 40 years earlier — when he was only 20 years old — in a series of paintings of the same title (now in the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans). The celebrated paintings, which were featured prominently at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1939, laid the groundwork for Lawrence’s lifelong interest in the human quest for freedom and social justice. "The Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture" by Jacob Lawrence is at The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW, through April 23, 2017. phillipscollection.org.

"The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire" at the American Indian Museum

Construction of the Inka Road stands as one of the monumental engineering achievements in history. A network more than 20,000 miles long, crossing mountains and tropical lowlands, rivers and deserts, the Great Inka Road linked Cusco, the administrative capital and spiritual center of the Inka world, to the farthest reaches of its empire. The road continues to serve contemporary Andean communities across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile as a sacred space and symbol of cultural continuity. In 2014, the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, recognized the Inka Road as a World Heritage site.

"The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire" explores the foundations of the Inka Road in earlier Andean cultures, technologies that made building the road possible, the cosmology and political organization of the Inka world, as well as the legacy of the Inka Empire during the colonial period and in the present day. "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire" is at the American Indian Museum through June 1, 2020. nmai.si.edu.

"The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now" at the National Portrait Gallery

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has been engaged in multiple wars, varying in intensity, locale and consequence. After fifteen years, this warfare has become normalized into America’s social and cultural landscape; it is ongoing, yet somehow out of sight, invisible. "The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now" explores and assesses the human costs of ongoing wars through portraiture. The exhibition title is drawn from John Keegan’s classic military history, which reorients our view of war from questions of strategy and tactics to its personal and individual toll. Featuring fifty-six works by six artists, the exhibition includes photographs by Ashley Gilbertson, Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, and Stacy Pearsall; site-specific installation of drawings by Emily Prince; and paintings, sculpture, and time-based media by Vincent Valdez. "The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now" is on exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F Streets NW, April 7 to Jan. 28, 2018. npg.si.edu.

@NatGeo: The Most Popular Instagram Photos

National Geographic Museum’s new exhibition “@NatGeo: Popular Instagram Photos” captures and curates the most liked, commented on and favorited photos from National Geographic’s iconic Instagram account. As the world’s top media brand on Instagram, National Geographic, or @natgeo, has more than 62 million followers and over 1 billion likes on its 12,000+ posted images. Experience the diversity of this innovative and eye-popping content firsthand. Simultaneously digital and tactile, the exhibition offers visitors an opportunity to interact with National Geographic photography in a whole new way. From avid photo buffs to cellphone novices, “@NatGeo” is a not-to-be-missed look at the magic and influence of photography in the digital age. "@NatGeo: The Most Popular Instagram Photos" is at the National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th Street, NW, through April 30, 3017. nationalgeographic.org.

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