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Firelei Báez was born in 1980 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, and currently lives and works in Newa York. With a convergence of interests in anthropology, science fiction, black female subjectivity, and women’s work, Baéz is interested in how culture and identity are shaped by inherited histories. Approaching selfhood as malleable, her work serves as a defense against culturally predetermined ethnic stereotypes as maintained and perpetuated by dominant narratives. Drawing attention to the incomplete nature of our communal stories, Baéz creates alternate environments in which cultures, disparate or alike, can commune. In this exhibition, a new body of work is presented featuring three paintings and a large-scale installation manifest from the artist’s research on the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and its enduring significance.

“I would prefer not to,” is a famed and much repeated line in Herman Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (1853). Bartleby is the character of this fiction piece, first published in two-parts and later compiled as a single story. As an office desk worker who had worked in the dead letter office, which administers undeliverable mail, Bartleby sees no way out of the system. Dropping out of a system—for example, the one of the so-called art world—has been a recurring move for many who have little to no expectations of, or common beliefs in, a normative, and especially urban, environment. An exhibition with an audio script by Sarah Demeuse and Wendy Tronrud, as well as a soundtrack by Mario García Torres in collaboration with Sol Oosel explores various cases of dropping out. In a deserted gallery environment, illustrated through the color scales of dawn, morning, high noon, twilight, and night, two sound pieces are available. On the one hand, an audio-script is accessed through wireless headphones; on the other, a music soundtrack is featured as the exhibition’s lyrical ambience. The exhibition is considered an emotional cartography of dropping out. Demeuse and Tronrud’s script asks what force fields—economic, gender, race, […]

This retrospective of seven decades of the work of Washington, DC sculptor Nancy Frankel will celebrate her ninetieth birthday in 2019. Working in various media since the 1950s—including wood, Plexiglas, Hydrocal, design cast, and steel—Frankel has explored a fundamentally geometric vocabulary, with moments of whimsy, the title of one of the works in this show. In addition to her freestanding works in three dimensions, a few of her many graphite drawings and tempera paintings will be represented, as well as a large wall relief.

Standing at the foot of Australia’s sacred sandstone monolith known as Uluru, Michael B. Platt and Carol A. Beane envisioned a world invisible to many others. The world is at once primordial and imminent, spiritual and mortal. This exhibition is a collaborative offering from one of Washington’s most prolific pairs; an offering of visibility from one world into another. Inspired by the ancestral stories told by the indigenous keepers of Australia’s most sacred grounds, Platt and Beane fuse poetic image with word. The union culminates in an aesthetic experience of the human spirit that that transcends time, place, and identity.

This exhibition is dedicated to one of the most remarkable Czech poets and visual artists associated with Modernism, Jiří Kolář (1914-2002). During the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, Kolář encountered considerable challenges, including a prison sentence for the critical stance towards the system expressed in his poetry. Whether because “images” were less easily censurable than “words” or for other, personal reasons, from about 1959, he focused exclusively on visual arts – especially various experimental forms of collage. Yet most of his mixed-media works remained profoundly concerned with the word/image relationship, and can best be described as “visual” poetry. The selection is representative of the main aspects of his oeuvre as it evolved over several decades. It includes a wide variety of collages in diverse techniques: both early works and those of his mature period; on very small scale and large ones; two-dimensional and sculptural.

This first major exhibition drawn from our Corcoran Legacy Collection features strong and provocative photography and sculpture donated by Tony Podesta over the past decade to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, now part of the American University Museum’s holdings. Podesta has earned the reputation of being a fearless supporter of challenging contemporary art by women. He is an important patron of the arts nationally and internationally, with an outsized impact all across the Washington art world.

With this first comprehensive European exhibition the Aedes Architecture Forum presents the work of Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA from Bangladesh, who received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016 for the Friendship Centre on the flood plains of Gaibandha in northern Bangladesh. With further projects such as the Gulshan Society Mosque in Dhaka and the Cyclone Shelter in Kuakata, he gained widespread international acclaim. Careful arrangement of structures in areas marked by extreme climatic conditions, combined with local building techniques and materials, Kashef Chowdhury’s buildings are exemplary of an architecture that serves society with radical simplicity and poetry. With an atmospheric installation, the exhibition curated by Niklaus Graber and Andreas Ruby, invites visitors on a journey to Bangladesh and the architectural worlds of URBANA. Bangladesh, which has been stigmatized in many respects as a peripheral region, has hardly been present on the global architectural map. However, this is likely to change in the near future. One reason for this is the architecture of Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA. At first glance, Kashef Chowdhury’s buildings – such as his stormproof school or island-shaped village near the Bramaputra River – seem to have emerged directly from the local context of Bangladesh, which is one of […]

Czech visual artist Roman Kames will present the talk and exhibit A Far Cry, paintings inspired by his time spent in the mountains of Ladakh – the western Himalayas, at the Embassy of the Czech Republic on January 24, 2019, at 6 pm.  

Today, hardly anyone knows who they were, even though they made a part of art history: artists such as Elena Luksch-Makowsky, Helene Funke, and Erika Giovanna Klien contributed significantly to Viennese Modernism and artistic trends that manifested after the First World War. To commemorate these artists, their art, and their emancipatory achievements, a long overdue retrospective has now been staged in the Lower Belvedere.

This is the first major exhibition of Pierre Bonnard’s work in the UK since the much-loved show at Tate 20 years ago. It will allow new generations to discover Bonnard’s unconventional use of colour, while surprising those who think they already know him. Born 1867, Bonnard was, with Henri Matisse, one of the greatest colourists of the early 20th century. He preferred to work from memory, imaginatively capturing the spirit of a moment and expressing it through his unique handling of colour and innovative sense of composition. The exhibition concentrates on Bonnard’s work from 1912, when colour became a dominant concern, until his death in 1947. It presents landscapes and intimate domestic scenes which capture moments in time – where someone has just left the room, a meal has just finished, a moment lost in the view from the window, or a stolen look at a partner.

Nicolas Jasmin’s artistic approach can be understood as pictorial archaeology. Jasmin has developed a method that combines painting with laser technology. A laser beam works its way through layers of paint that have been applied to hessian and exposes them to the primer, thereby revealing traces of the formation process. Jasmin also practises pictorial archaeology in terms of his subjects: he finds them in art history, in pop and everyday culture – in short: in our collective pictorial memory – and recontextualises them. Wide-ranging series of works thus arise in which Jasmin repeatedly explores simple gestures and forms. In the process, he is guided by both prescribed rules and happenstance, always questing after the unconscious and enigmatic aspects of his pictures.