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Your Weekly Art Lens by Beth Shook

Photo by Beth Shook

Beth is an art history grad student at George Mason University with a focus on modern art of the Americas.

Art picks for this week include a film, a lecture and three exhibition openings. Feel free to comment with your own recommendations – be it an upcoming show, street art or your favorite permanent installation (for the latter, I’d have to go with the contemporary art galleries at the American Art Museum).

The Cool School at the Corcoran Gallery: This Thursday, the Corcoran is screening the 2008 film The Cool School, a documentary about the role of the Ferus Gallery in the formation of a cohesive West Coast art scene in the 1950s and ’60s. New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis described it as “a myth-making tale of a group of post-World War II aesthetic adventurers who … created an exciting American moment.” Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online. Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Drive By at Project 4 Gallery: Opening Friday, this show features six artists confronting aspects of the urban landscape that we usually notice only peripherally. Works like Gregory Thielker’s hyperrealist oil paintings of rain on a car windshield and Michael A. Salter’s digital drawings of a surreal suburbia ask the viewer to take a closer look at the surroundings we tend to take for granted. On view Feb. 5 to March 5.

Continues after the jump.

Richard Gordon: Meta Photographs at the Corcoran Gallery: Richard Gordon’s self-referential “meta photographs” from the 1970s are simultaneously funny and breathtaking. While his high contrast and meticulously composed pictures ostensibly depict everyday scenes of American life, the San Francisco-based photographer is ultimately interested in exploring the act of looking in American culture. Samples of Gordon’s work can be found on his website. On view Feb. 5 to May 15.

Lauren Rice: Heirlooms at Transformer: This month, Transformer presents an installation series by Lauren Rice, who received her MFA from American University. Rice’s mixed media creations combine found objects like fake flowers, window screens and phonebook pages to form grotesque gardens that toy with the traditional role of flowers as signifiers of femininity. You can check out some of the artist’s installation pieces on her website. Open house on Feb. 5 from 1 to 7p.m. with an artist talk at 2 p.m. On view Feb. 5 to March 12.

We Build our Temples for Tomorrow: Writing African American Art History” at the National Gallery of Art: There’s no description for this lecture online, but the topic is as relevant to Washington as ever and the speaker, University of Pennsylvania Associate Professor Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, has published extensively on visual culture and race in American art. Feb. 6 at 2 p.m. in the East Building auditorium.

First Fridays openings at the following Dupont galleries: Studio Gallery, Foundry Gallery, Hillyer Art Space.

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