Art and the City

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Girls on Film from Washington, DC will be exhibiting again at this year’s Capital Art Book Fair. Photo: Genie Hutinet for East City Art.

2024 Capital Art Book Fair
Eastern Market North Hall
Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7
artbookfair.eastcityart.com

East City Art is thrilled to announce the return of the Capital Art Book Fair, now in its second year, slated to take place at Eastern Market’s North Hall. Scheduled for the weekend of April 6 and 7, 2024, the fair promises an enriching experience for art enthusiasts and bibliophiles alike. Admission is free, inviting everyone to explore the diverse world of art publishing Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This year’s fair is set to host an impressive array of thirty-six exhibitors hailing from various corners of the globe, including the DMV, the United States, Asia, and Europe. Attendees can expect a vibrant showcase of books that are themselves works of art, alongside artist-focused editions, limited-run publications, and a range of prints, DIY zines, graphic novels, and art magazines. Well over 100 creatives, including fine artists, independent publishers, illustrators, and photographers, will present their work, offering a unique glimpse into the contemporary art and publishing landscapes.

The fair will feature an impressive diversity of participants, from local talents like Vika Visual Arts and Girls on Film from Washington, DC, to international exhibitors like 51 Personae from Shanghai. Noteworthy local institutions such as Glenstone Museum and emerging indie presses will be among the highlights, creating a dynamic and multifaceted art book experience. Eastern Market North Hall, 225 7th Street SE. Saturday:  11 a.m.– 6 p.m. and Sunday: 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Steven Cushner, Cloudburst #1, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 74 x 66 inches. Photo: HEMPHILL

American Poetry Museum
Nando Alvarez “Transmutación”
March 23 through April 30
apoetmuseum.org/exhibits

“Transmutación” is an evocative exhibit that showcases the captivating screen prints and monoprints of artist Nando Alvarez. This collection stands out for its dynamic tension and intriguing allure, inviting viewers to delve into the narratives woven within each piece. Alvarez’s work in this exhibit is deeply influenced by the vivid hues and energetic style of chicha posters, infusing traditional screen printing techniques with a modern vibrancy. Alongside these visual pieces, poet Sami Miranda introduces an engaging interplay of art forms. His poems, inspired by the layout and spirit of chicha posters, engage in a reflective dialogue with Alvarez’s creations. The exhibit is currently on display at the American Poetry Museum until the end of April. 716 Monroe Street NE, Studio 25, Washington, DC.  Hours: Thursday and Friday 5-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 2-5 p.m. 202- 670-6252

HEMPHILL
Steven Cushner
March 16-April 27
hemphillfinearts.com/exhibitions

HEMPHILL presents “STEVEN CUSHNER,” through April 27. This exhibition delves into the intriguing debate of categorizing art as abstract or representational, challenging the viewer to transcend traditional dichotomies and embrace a more integrated perception of art. Cushner’s work embodies this synthesis, merging conceptual depth with aesthetic appeal in a manner that speaks directly to the contemporary art enthusiast.

“En Movimiento”, Screenprint by Nando Alvarez. Photo: Nando Alvarez.

Steven Cushner’s creative process is deeply introspective and yet universally resonant. His most recent inspiration, drawn from a reflective moment on a beach, questioning the transient beauty of nature, has led to a body of work that unifies the abstract with the representational. His paintings and works on paper from 2022 to 2024 encapsulate this journey, offering viewers a chance to experience art beyond the confines of -isms and categorical limitations.

Cushner has garnered recognition for his distinctive approach to painting, earning fellowships and showcasing his work in esteemed galleries and collections across the nation, including the Hirshhorn Museum and the Yale University Art Gallery. This exhibition at HEMPHILL not only highlights Cushner’s artistic evolution but also invites visitors to reconsider their own perceptions of art, urging a deeper, more intuitive engagement with the visual language. 434 K Street NW. Tuesday-Saturday, 10am – 5pm and by appointment. 202-234-5601

Smithsonian American
Art Museum
Fighters for Freedom:
William H. Johnson Picturing Justice
March 8 through September 8, 2024
americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/fighters-for-freedom

The “Fighters for Freedom” series by William H. Johnson is an artistic homage to key figures who have significantly contributed to the struggles and triumphs in the pursuit of freedom and justice. Painted in the mid-1940s, this series encapsulates the essence of courage and resilience demonstrated by notable individuals such as Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Marian Anderson, and Mahatma Gandhi, alongside other unsung heroes who faced and overcame the challenges of racism, violence, and oppression. Through his vivid and expressive artwork, Johnson not only commemorates the achievements of these figures but also offers a nuanced narrative that intertwines their lives with broader historical and social contexts.

William H. Johnson, Harriet Tubman, ca. 1945, oil on
paperboard, 28 7⁄8 x 23 3⁄8 in. (73.5 x 59.3 cm),
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the
Harmon Foundation

Johnson’s artwork serves as a powerful reminder of the interconnected nature of the fight for freedom and justice, illustrating how each individual’s contributions, regardless of their global recognition, are pivotal in shaping the course of history. By bringing to light both well-known and overlooked stories, he enriches our understanding of the multifaceted struggle for civil rights and peace, urging viewers to reflect on their roles in contemporary quests for equity and harmony.

The significance of Johnson’s “Fighters for Freedom” is further amplified by its preservation and presentation by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), which received a substantial collection of his works from the Harmon Foundation. The ongoing exhibitions, conservation efforts, and scholarly engagement with Johnson’s work at SAAM ensure that his artistic legacy continues to inspire and educate future generations. 8th and G Streets NW,  Washington, DC. Open Daily, 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.  202-633-7970.

Phil Hutinet is the founding publisher of East City Art, DC’s visual art journal of record. For more information visit www.eastcityart.com