3 D.C. Exhibits That Offer Realism, Beauty and Exploration

Birds in Contemporary Art • Smithsonian American Art Museum

This exhibit explores the use of birds in contemporary art and features 46 works by 12 American artists.

With some exceptions, the paintings hanging on the first half of the exhibit’s walls are (while contemporary) quite realistic, representing birds in Audubon-esque scientific drawings that, only with careful thought, betray the hint of sly emotion within.

Other pieces are  invaded by surrealism, but maintain a quality of actuality. In other words, the birds are portrayed realistically, but they are being artistically manipulated into the impossible.

But it is the sculpture that brings the exhibit to its most ravishing crescendos. Without a keen eye and a good reading of the placards, the paintings can so easily be passed by as simple pictures of birds. The sculptures allow absolutely no such overlook.

Ends Feb. 22, 2015

Richard Estes Exhibit • Smithsonian American Art Museum

Some art is renowned for it’s beauty, other for the skill it showcases, and still other for its deeper vision.

The art of Richard Estes, an 82-year-old American photorealistic painter, currently on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, brings viewers a healthy mix of all three.

The 46-piece exhibition spans nearly 50 years of Estes’ entire career. It features paintings of New York City, Venice, Spain, Japan, Paris, Florence, London, Maine and even Antarctica – all painted with the same, incredibly detailed style that has led him to be “considered the foremost practitioner of [photorealism],” according to the museum’s description.

Ends Feb. 8, 2015 

Romeyn de Hooghe Exhibit • National Gallery of Art Library

Curators at the National Gallery of Art Library in Washington have opened the book on Romeyn de Hooghe, a little-known Dutch illustrator.

De Hooghe, pronounced “de rogue,” is the focus of a 17-piece exhibition showcasing his illustrations and frontispieces for numerous books, pamphlets and manuals from the late-1600s and early-1700s.

The pieces are notable for the variety of themes they explore. Although they are all etchings, the art depicts topics ranging from Pagan oracles to Catholic teachings, ancient religious icons, political cartoons, the history of the Netherlands and even proper wrestling techniques.

Ends Jan. 25, 2015

writersblocheadshots15Evan Berkowitz is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at evanjberkowitz@gmail.com.

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