There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When humans finally go extinct, our monuments, stores, and museums will slowly begin to decay and crumble, something that we will never see but can envision through the work of Lori Nix. Her show, “The City,” features dioramas of the remains of a world without people: a junkyard of cars, a vacuum showroom with its wares strewn about, a natural history museum with dinosaur bones still upright as the museum’s pillars and walls, which resemble the Roman Forum, turn to dust. It’s like an apocalyptic dollhouse without any dolls. Signs of life remain abundant, though, from the overgrown jungle outside the vacuum store to the family of raccoons ransacking a clock tower. Nix grew up in Kansas and based her earlier works on the natural disasters she witnessed there as a child, as well as disaster movies. Once she moved to Brooklyn, though, her attention turned to the city and how it would fare without people. After she creates and photographs each diorama, she destroys it. Some of her older natural disaster works are featured in the show, such as California Forest Fire, created in 2003, which shows a trailer parked by placid water with a backdrop of an ignited sky. Though there are inconsistencies among her dioramas—some remain true to scale and attempt to be realistic while others, like Museum of Art, seem to have been overtaken by abnormalities such as gigantic honeybees—Nix’s attention to detail is impeccable, especially in The Majestic, the ruins of a grand theater with purple velvet curtains, gold-leaf ceiling, fallen chandeliers, and some crows taking refuge from the end of the world. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Dec. 8, at Randall Scott Gallery, 1326 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 332-0806.