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It’s 1863, and brothers are fighting brothers in our nation’s deadliest war. But even the Civil War could not obstruct one well-placed cloud from muting the light cast on the corner of Vermont Avenue and L St. NW, where America’s bard of democracy, Walt Whitman, was waiting to see America’s savior of democracy, Abraham Lincoln. Spencer Finch draws on this meeting of the minds for inspiration as he brings that cloud a little closer to the ground in his Corcoran exhibition “My Business, With the Cloud.” Walking under Finch’s translucent “Passing Cloud” sculpture hovering in the museum’s rotunda evokes the same atmospheric luminosity Whitman might have once experienced. As bicycle lanes and food carts pop up along D.C. streets, Finch reminds us that not everything has changed. Not the lighting, anyway. Tonight, Finch discusses the artistic inspirations that keep his head in the clouds.

FINCH SPEAKS AT 7 P.M. AT THE CORCORAN GALLERY OF ART, 500 17TH ST. NW. $20. (202) 639-1700.