30 Americans

Better Late Than Never: February Show Review

On February 3 I ventured out for the usual First Friday openings.  The line-up for the night was set, starting with the preview of DC’s newest – Contemporary Wing.

I was particularly looking forward to attending the preview for the Contemporary Wing show NEXT.  Although it was missing work from our fair city and featured artists mostly from Chicago and NYC, it is a wonderful parallel with the recently closed 30 Americans show at the Corcoran and it is always exciting when a new gallery opens its doors! Perfectly placed in the Shaw neighborhood, the physical space within this new gallery is fantastic, although still a little rough around the edges with no restroom yet…

Although the strategically placed pile of combs, entitled Seven Layer Tangle by Sonya Clark, that stands as the signature piece of the show is pushed to the back room, you are immediately greeted with the sparkling works of Jayson Keeling.  My personal favorite, ROY G BIV a canvas covered in black glitter, was initially hard to decipher but after probing deeper you can see the colors of the rainbow clearly.  Keeling’s technique of slowing me down to actually see the connection between the title and the work itself certainly worked – BEAUTIFULLY!

Since admittedly, I am always drawn to photography, Wyatt Gallery’s work in NEXT has to be mentioned. His work, from his series Tent Life: Haiti, is very powerful and curated perfectly to really dominate the space.  My personal favorite Blue Tent Interior, Airport Camp really brought me in with its bold blue colors and almost washes away the meaning and story behind the series.  Contemporary Wing is also selling Wyatt Gallery’s book of Tent Life: Haiti for just $40. Wyatt Gallery - Blue Tent Interior, Airport Camp

After wrapping up at the exciting preview of NEXT, I headed across town to Dupont for the real First Friday openings at the Hillyer and Studio Gallery.  To say that they were crowded with people would be an understatement, which makes for a great win in the art world!  The highlight for me at the Hillyer Art Space was again photography by David Myers.     His work will be up through February in the front gallery space at Hillyer.  Myers work creates a documentary of his experiences and surroundings, many depicting animals.  A must see!

Ending my tour de Dupont on Friday I stopped in to the Studio Gallery and this time it was not photography that caught my attention but rather the sculptures of Trish Palasik’s Moments: Taking Shape.  Her Degas-esque work Ballerina is truly stunning and puts a modern look on a timeless beauty. 

Overall, all three galleries are a must see this month and I look forward to seeing more from these artists.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,




30 Americans at the Corcoran is a beautiful, emotional, overwhelming and highly satisfying exhibit. Last night’s opening was also one of the best I’ve ever been to at the Corcoran. The crowd was also more ethnically and racially diverse than I’ve ever seen at a Corcoran party. Coincidence?

I think that the positive energy that the Rubells emit is part of it, but it’s also the artists’ work and the story it tells about America and who we are today. The demographic changes of the last decades and those yet to come, don’t always square with what we see reflected in the traditional/institutional art world be it artists, gallery and museum professionals, art historians and critics, collectors and others.

To see 60-plus works from 31 African-American artists that span several generations drives home the sense that we need more shows like 30 Americans and we need to support ways for paths to those possibilities to be created, navigated and supported for all artists who don’t have access to them because of race, ethnicity, class, or economic status.

30 Americans at the Corcoran Gallery of Art opens to the public on October 1st and runs through February 2012.