Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
We’re now deep in the summer doldrums, when half the city has seemingly left for the shore and finding fresh art is like searching for sand dollars. But for its exhibition of recent additions, Hemphill Fine Arts has handpicked an assortment of works like the prettiest shells from the sand at low tide. The stars of the show are the lithographs—one by Robert Rauschenberg, the other a series by Ed Ruscha. Front Roll, an early print by Rauschenberg, was previously exhibited at the National Gallery of Art’s “Let the World In” show, which closed in March. It’s a political work—the Statue of Liberty appears twice, darkened, while a sailor and his female companion have their faces scratched out. Ruscha’s That Is Right and Other Similarities features 12 prints with affirmative sayings: “Positive,” “Accurate,” and “Certain,” among others. The pronouncements are mitigated, however, by the foreboding shadows of doorways and windows in the background, calling to mind a film-noir set. A mosaic quality ties some of the pieces together—a tiny piece by Alfred Jensen is geometric like a tile arrangement, but the intaglio paint renders it imprecise, while Alma Thomas’ untitled painting is a scattering of orange squares and triangles, like candies scattered on a countertop. The puzzle pieces of Al Souza’s Racket Ball comprise, tile by tile, the stuff of an 11-year-old boy’s dreams: pizza, candy, and sports. Another Souza puzzle collage, Jabberwocky, appears in the exhibition, and the food and athletic equipment of both are meant to be admired up close—stand further away, and the pieces are just an indistinguishable blur of Americana. “A SELECTION OF RECENT ADDITIONS TO GALLERY INVENTORY” IS ON VIEW FROM 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M. MONDAY to FRIDAY TO FRIDAY, AUG. 29, AT HEMPHILL FINE ARTS, 1515 14th ST. NW. FREE. (202) 234-5601.