Washington, DC 

Dumbarton Oaks Museum 

This unusual show includes more than 200 objects relating to the image of the cross.  That image is shown in works drawn from Dumbarton Oaks’ extensive collection of Byzantine art as well as in pieces loaned from collections throughout the world.  These iconic and multifaceted motifs allow for a comprehensive appreciation of the cross as object, sign and symbol of the Christian faith over centuries of time.

On view: through July 31, 2011

Contact information: www.doaks.org/museum  or 202 339-6401

Beyond Home Remedy: Women, Medicine and Science

Folger Shakespeare Library 

Women at all levels of Shakespearean society were the home healers of their age.  Their “recipes” relied on concoctions as varied as syrup of violets and a drink made from snails.  Information in this exhibit is “distilled” from manuscripts, texts and images in the Folger’s collection as well as natural history specimens and instruments loaned by the Smithsonian. 

On view: through May 14, 2011

Contact Information: www.folger.edu or 202 544-4600. 

Choosing to Participate

Historical Society of Washington 

This traveling presentation engages viewers around the questions: What does it mean to be a citizen of a democracy? What can we learn from each other’s stories?  What is our responsibility to society?  Four real-life stories are used to illustrate the impact of racism and injustice as well as courageous choices people have made to build strong communities. Little Rock, Arkansas, Montana, New Hampshire and New York City present varying situations, challenges and opportunities for their residents and, by extension, for the viewer as well.  Civics in action!

On view: through June 17, 2011

Contact information: www.historydc.org or 202 383-1800. 

Gauguin: Maker of Myth

National Gallery of Art, East Building 

Museums and collections from all over the world have lent to this exhibition of nearly 120 oils, pastels, prints, sculptures, drawings and objects created  by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).  Religious stories, whether pagan or Christian, provide the underpinning for Gauguin’s scenes of Brittany, Southern France, French Polynesia and Tahiti.  This collection of self-portraits, still lifes, genre scenes and landscapes includes highlights from every period of Gauguin’s career.

On view: through June 5, 2011 

Venice: Canaletto and his Rivals  also on view

Travelers on the Grand Tour of Europe in the 18th century created a market for souvenir paintings and prints, especially one of the most beautiful and exotic of cities, Venice. The most famous painter of these vedute was Canaletto, represented in this show by 20 masterpieces.  Another 30 works by  contemporary artists — Michele Marieschi, Francesco Guardi and Bernardo Bellottt — extend our view of the canals, churches and public spaces of the city known as the “Queen of the Adriatic.”

On view: through May 30, 2011

Contact information: www.nga.gov or 202 737-4215. 

Tom Wesselman Draws

The Kreeger Museum 

This presentation focuses uniquely on 108 drawings spanning 1959-2004 — the entire span of Tom Wesselman’s career.  A leader in the Pop Arts movement with Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Indiana, Wesselman was a “brilliant colorist, superior draftsman and innovator of new techniques.”  This posthumous show fulfills a goal of Wesselman’s:  “The scope of the show will be to present a well-edited selection of the best drawings available covering the full range of my varied production. I don’t view the show as delineated by decades in any way, but as a continuity of drawings as they occurred … A show that will enlarge the common perception of what a drawing is to a surprising and rewarding degree.” The show was curated by Wesselman’s wife, Claire.

On view: through July 30, 2011

Contact information: www.Kreegermuseum.org or 202 338-3552.


Hollywood Guns

National Firearms Museum 

What else but 2,700 guns are displayed with historical footnotes and commentary at the national Firearms Museum. This is a place that might be especially popular with the male sex, however, the current special exhibition, Hollywood Guns, focuses on fake guns that were used in famous productions such as the .44 Magnum Clint Eastwood manhandled in “Dirty Harry” or his Colt Walkers from “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”  Among other unique instruments are guns from “Die Hard,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Star Wars” and “No Country for Old Men.”

On view: through June 1, 2011

Contact information: www.nramuseum.com or 702 267-1600. 

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