to july 4

In “The New Geometry,” London-based artist Charbel Ackerman examines the “axis of evil,” a phrase President Bush first employed in 2002 to link in the public’s mind three countries—Iran, Iraq, and North Korea—that, as far as anyone can tell, weren’t actually in cahoots. In a series of lithographs, drawings on paper, and in a power-point slide show presented by Irvine Contemporary at the Warehouse Gallery, Ackermann visualizes this relation as an actual planetary axis: a 22,344 km straight line connecting the three with Cuba, a country UN Ambassador John Bolton later linked to the imaginary cabal. One drawing quotes Leonardo da Vinci, showing a sketchy male nude stretched across a map of the world. His navel hovers over Baghdad; his right arm and leg trace perfect arcs away from the axis. Another drawing shows the globe in a hatbox, using the axis as part of a goofily unnecessary geometric ratio. The slide show offers the same images, albeit with cleaned-up typography—but in both sets, Ackermann heightens the way nationalistic rhetoric pulls language away from reason and reality. Also on view is Monument2(pictured), a large, pieced-together drawing of the Arch of Titus, rendered entirely with overlapping bar codes. Two bar-code guns flank the drawing, inviting the viewer to scan at will. The codes trigger a projector, which flashes captions—descriptions, some playful, some pithy, of other monuments throughout history—onto the front of the arch, beckoning reflection on man’s problematic attempts to shape untidy realities into acceptable narratives. Ackermann’s works are on view from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday to Tuesday, July 4, at the Warehouse Gallery, 1021 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 783-3933. (Jeffry Cudlin)