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Blackened seagulls with milky eyes, glaciers collapsing into the sea, swaths of burned land: Environmental disaster ain’t pretty. But in the exhibition “A Fable for Tomorrow,” Alexis Rockman addresses these natural catastrophes by capturing them in beautiful, bizarre paintings with a dreamy, sci-fi sensibility. It’s the first major survey of Rockman’s apocalyptic-meets-psychedelic artwork, featuring 47 pieces from the last quarter-century. Inspired by trips to the white wastelands of Antarctica, the verdant jungles of Guyana, and the concrete jungles of Brooklyn, Rockman calls attention to environmental issues without the holier-than-thou-ness of a Greenpeace volunteer beseeching you for a minute of your time outside Whole Foods. The news may not be good, but Rockman manages to find beauty in the most desperate of situations.
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW 11:30 A.M. TO 7 P.M. DAILY TO MAY 8, 2011, AT THE SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM, 8TH AND F STREETS NW. FREE. (202) 633-7970.