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Weekly Art Lens by Beth Shook

Coming soon to the Renwick: Judith Schaechter, The Floor, 2006, glass, Collection of Claire Oliver and Ian Rubinstein, Photo by Dominic Episcopo

“Culture Wars: Then and Now” at the Corcoran Gallery: Given recent events at the Smithsonian, this symposium on freedom of expression over the past two decades comes at a pivotal moment – and at a venue that has its own tangled history with art censorship. Panel topics range from the evolution of the “offensive” to public funding for the arts, with panelists including Corcoran Chief Curator Philip Brookman, a diverse group of scholars and curators and D.C.’s own iPad protestors. The event is hosted in conjunction with Transformer, the D.C. gallery that first opted to display David Wojnarowicz’s controversial video after it was pulled from the Portrait Gallery. March 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Metro: Farragut West or Farragut North.

Corridor at the Art Museum of the Americas: The AMA takes an unconventional approach to their latest exhibition, inviting a group of contemporary Baltimore and Washington-based artists to participate in a collaborative curatorial process. The twelve artists on view work in a variety of mediums; I’m particularly looking forward to whatever Martha Jackson-Jarvis’s mixed-media installation “Vegan’s Table, Cry Me a River” might entail. On view March 24 to June 26. Opening reception March 24 at 6:30 p.m. Metro: Farragut West.

Continues after the jump.

Patrick McDonough: Opening Act at Civilian Art Projects: This weekend CAP inaugurates its new “site-specific project space” with an installation by local artist Patrick McDonough. In line with the recent vogue for art that has more to do with process than the final product, McDonough’s pieces are elaborate projects: a gray wall whose color was derived from Soundgarden song titles, song lyrics tattooed on the artist’s back. The question is whether McDonough’s broader theme of “fan behavior” will unify his works or get lost in the shuffle. Either way, this show looks fun. On view March 25 to May 28. Opening reception March 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Metro: Mt. Vernon Square.

History in the Making: Renwick Craft Invitational 2011 at the Renwick Gallery: For its fifth craft invitational, the Renwick is displaying works by four decorative artists who all manage to combine “historical techniques” with a distinctive, contemporary aesthetic. Highlights include Judith Schaechter’s stained glass panels inspired by medieval tapestries and comic books, and Cliff Lee’s porcelains forms that go from referencing ancient Chinese ceramics to the Chihulyesque. The Smithsonian American Art Museum website includes a pretty cool slideshow on the featured artists’ and their
process. On view March 25 to July 31. Metro: Farragut West.

Short list: “Making Shapes in Space: David Smith and Dance” at the Phillips Collection; DCist Exposed at Longview Gallery; Ex-Apparatus at Corehaus DC.

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