Author Archive | Ellen Kwatnoski

Infinity Mirror Room

Infinity Mirrored: The Art of Yayoi Kusama

After what seems a long hiatus away from this space, your intrepid art blogger is back, excited to tell you about “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors,” now on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. This popular show has been mobbed with fans during its entire run. More often than not, timed […]

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"Untitled," 1978 by Alexander Calder

Cutting Edge: The National Gallery’s East Building Reopens

Well worth the three-year wait, the newly redesigned and refurbished East Building of the National Gallery of Art has reopened. Perry Chin, a colleague of I.M. Pei, architect of the original, undertook the extensive, if subtle reworking. First opened in 1978 to house modern and contemporary art, the building is comprised of interlocking triangles reflecting […]

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"Portrait of Dora Wheeler," 1883

William Merritt Chase: A Modern Master

For years I’ve loved a painting in the permanent collection of the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. “Hide and Seek,” 1888, by William Merritt Chase, never fails to bewitch me: the play of dark and light, the sense of a photo having been snapped in mid-action, the feeling that you’ve entered a world that propels […]

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"Ocean Park," 1960-61

Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change

The title of this show is taken from Robert Irwin’s words about his intention to move from traditional art—paint on canvas—to more “conditional” works that deal with light and space directly. At the Hirschhorn Museum in DC, this is the first historical survey of the California artist’s work from the late 1950s through today. Up until […]

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"Camaroon Study," 2010

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic

“Painting is about the world we live in. Black people live in the world. My choice is to include them. This is my way of saying yes to us.” –Kehinde Wiley. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA, has mounted a 14-year retrospective of the prolific artist, Kehinde Wiley. The show, A New […]

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"Untitled," from the Hijab/Veil series, 2011, by Boushra Almutawakel

She Who Tells A Story

I was drawn to this exhibit—She Who Tells a Story—at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, seeking revelations about life in the Middle East. The work (more than 80 photographs and a video installation) is part of the output of a women’s collective called Rawiya (“she who tells a story” […]

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"Lobster Telephone," 1938 by Salvador Dali

Marvelous Objects

Unless you want to spend your Valentine’s Day at the Hirshhorn Museum here in DC (hey, not a bad idea…) you will have missed the surrealist exhibit Marvelous Objects. If you don’t drop everything and go, stick with this post. It’s a fascinating show, and I say that as not the world’s biggest fan of […]

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Picture 023

Cross Currants in Modern Art

Sam Rose, the Washington DC attorney and real estate developer and his wife, Julie Walters, have built a rich and varied art collection over many years. Now, according to Sam, they’ve run out of wall space. Luckily for us, they’ve shared their collection in a show now at the National Museum of American Art in […]

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"Game Fish," 1988, by Larry Fuente

“Wonder” at the Renwick Gallery

I’ve been wondering about the newly reopened Renwick Gallery here in Washington, DC. Long a cherished space, I was eager to see what the two year-long renovation of this Smithsonian museum—heretofore devoted to craft and decorative arts—had wrought. The first thing that jarred me was the bold white plastic sign along the exterior fence that announces […]

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