Tuesday, June 22, 2004

MUSEUMS: Gabriel Orozco at the Hirshhorn and Other Things Worth Seeing

The Hirshhorn is exhibiting a series of photographs by the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco and is worth a look if you find yourself down near the Mall. Phyllis Rosenzweig, the Hirshhorn's curator of works on paper writes that "[a]lthough he has never considered himself a photographer, Gabriel Orozco's photographs stand out with arresting clarity from the rest of his work: a varied production that includes sculptures, installations, drawings, photographs, and videos, interrelated in a fluid process that expresses the artist's belief in the 'liquidity of things.'"

Orozco's photographic work is somewhat stark, but subjects featured in each work are more complicated upon a closer look.

For instance, "Sleeping Dog," features a reclining drowsy canine on some rocks. Seems simple enought: a sleeping dog. But the position of the dog on the rocks makes it appear that the dog is sleeping in a very awkward vertical position, as if it may be floating. The dog's rocky mattress is laid out in a very complicated fashion, creating a background that is worth more intense inspection.

"Common Dreams," which is a photograph of a handful of sheep in the middle of empty slightly rising scrublands presents to vastly different features to look at: the bleak surroundings versus the sheep, which are arranged in an oddly arranged pile. You can't exactly figure out what they're doing.

The Orozco exhibit is on display through Sept. 6.

Other Notables ...
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival starts Wednesday. This year's featured themes are Haiti (no word if there is an Aristide kiosk), Mid-Atlantic maritime communities and Nuestra Musica: Music in Latin Culture.

The National Gallery's East Building features an intimate exhibit on Mexican artist Diego Rivera's cubist paintings from 1913-1915, when Rivera was in France and Spain.

The Phillips Collection has three exhibits of note: August Sander's German landscape photographs from the 1930s and 40s; Aaron Suskind's abstract photography; and a small, but closely connected series of paintings by French artist Georges Rouault. Those exhibits are on through Sept. 5.

The Freer and Sacker galleries host "Caliphs and Kings: The Art and Influence of Islamic Spain." That is on through Oct. 17.


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