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New PoP Feature: Weekly Art Lens by Beth Shook

Photo by Beth Shook

I told you it was new feature week here on PoP! The following feature is something I’ve been hoping to put together for a while now. Given all the great museums around town, I wanted somebody who actually followed the scene closely to make some recommendations every week. Enter Beth Shook and her Weekly Art Lens:

Beth is an art history graduate student at George Mason University and works part-time at an emerging markets investment fund. Originally from Texas via New York, Beth graduated from Georgetown in 2009 with a degree in Spanish and has been living in Columbia Heights since then (and will probably never leave). In her free time, Beth practices amateur darkroom photography and conducts independent research projects, such as assessing where the best Tex-Mex is in D.C.

Every Tuesday I’ll be posting local exhibition openings, closings and visual art-related events to look out for during the week. Readers are encouraged to leave comments with other recommendations – the list is by no means exhaustive. This week’s highlights in no particular order:

Rise and Fall: Fiona Tan at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: Closing this Friday, Rise and Fall is a beautiful and dramatic exploration of the artist’s cultural identity, her vision of the people close to her and how memory is constructed in general. Tan manages repeatedly to meld classic genres with contemporary mediums, most notably in her 2008 work Provenance, a mesmerizing set of filmed black and white portraits of her friends and family inspired in part by 17th-century Dutch paintings. On view until Jan. 21.

Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions at the Art Museum of the Americas: Not much info is up on the OAS site at this point, but this exhibition’s focus on Caribbean art is unique enough that it will definitely be worth a visit. The exhibition preview and gallery talk is this Friday at 5:30 p.m. with the opening reception to follow. On view Jan. 21 to March 10.

Saturnalia: New Works by Gallery Artists at Irvine Contemporary: A diverse group exhibition that is small but striking in its thematic and technical scope. Highlights include Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi’s mixed media paintings that explore Iranian-American identity, as well as Melissa Ichiuji’s kitschy and grotesque found-object sculptures (if “Black Swan” didn’t give you sexual nightmares, these might). On view until Feb. 12.

R.C. Gorman: Early Prints and Drawings, 1966–1974 at the National Museum of American Indian: My last visit to the NMAI was two years ago to see a retrospective of the Indian painter Fritz Scholder, a haunting show with interesting, if sometimes excessive, interpretation. According to the Smithsonian press release, the show will focus on his depictions of the female form and “Indian madonnas.” On view until May 1.

Behind-the-Scenes Introduction to the Lunder Conservation Center at the National Portrait Gallery: The Smithsonian’s Lunder Conservation Center, which, as it turns out, has its own Twitter feed, offers free demonstrations most Wednesdays from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Seems like it would be a pretty cool way to spend a lunch break for those in the Metro Center/Gallery Place area. Meet at the Luce Foundation Center info desk on the third floor of the west wing. Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 3:00 p.m.

Short list: Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Censored Art; DEBT: Simon Gouverneur and Andy Moon Wilson at Curator’s Office; Now: Spencer Finch at the Corcoran Gallery.

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