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‘Tis the season of peak consumerism, but What Absence Is Made Of, a sprawling, unfocused exhibition at the Hirshhorn, looks at art that tries to do more with less, a stripped-down counterpoint to the blockbuster maximalism of Yayoi Kusama. While Ed Atkins’ three-channel video installation “Safe Conduct” riffs on flight instruction videos in what amounts to a negation of the artist, the exhibit has a more meditative side with Hiroshi Sugimoto’s large-scale minimalist photos, as well as a jar of cookies made from the ashes of John Baldessari’s early artwork, burned in a creative purge. Yet the most spot-on staging may be the closing Damien Hirst piece, which leads directly to the hallway where Ron Mueck’s “Untitled (Big Man)” contemplates his fate. It’s not officially in the show, but Mueck’s naked giant seems to ask, when the emperor has no clothes, is this too the art of absence? Read more>>> The exhibition is on view daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 633-4674. hirshhorn.si.edu. (Pat Padua)
Karma Modern Indian opens tonight at 5 p.m. in Mount Vernon Triangle. The menu is quite opulent with dishes like $43 lobster masala but there are also more reasonable dishes including zucchini kofta with dumplings in an onion and tomato sauce ($22) and Nilgiri chicken with mint, green chili, and star anise ($22). Pair these dishes with one of the restaurant’s original cocktails such as the “Dark Side of the Moon” with rye, Averna, Cardamaro, and spiced orange bitters ($12). Karma Modern Indian, 611 I St. NW. (202) 898-0393. karmamodernindian.com. (Laura Hayes)
OH AND ALSO
The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage presents a night of Yuletide jams when Listen Local First D.C. teams up with The 9 Songwriters Series and DMV musicians perform their favorite holiday music. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Iconic filmmaker John Waters presents A John Waters Christmas at the Birchmere. 7:30 p.m. at 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $55.
The 4th Annual Raheem DeVaughn & Friends Holiday Charity Concert, featuring Faith Evans, Angie Stone, and DMC of Run-DMC, takes place at the Howard Theatre. 8 p.m. at 620 T St. NW. $35–$69.50.
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