There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
TO DEC. 3
Because he worked at the Hirshhorn for years, Sidney Lawrence is well-known in the Washington art scene. The folks who don’t know him can get a comprehensive introduction from this show, which is all about Lawrence and his world. He appears, in paintings on flat panels and in mixed-media relief, as the Christ child (attended by a scruffy poodle) and as Washington itself—with the Hirshhorn as one of his eyes. The circular modern-art bunker is a motif in this playfully self-mythologizing show, but it doesn’t appear as often as the Golden Gate Bridge, which symbolizes Lawrence’s California childhood; the bright span materializes in the background, around the edge, even in his hair. There are several threads in this show, often combined but sometimes allowed to dangle alone: self-portraits (one is pictured); ink drawings, mostly of cities; 3D elements that break the frame, toying with perspective; and iconlike paintings on wooden panels, perhaps inspired by a trip to Poland. (Wrocaw joins Washington, San Francisco, and Shanghai among the cities depicted in pen-and-ink drawings.) The apparent goal is to reveal how Lawrence’s various interests overlap and show a range from the informal to such elaborate pieces as Coming Home, in which a ship’s prow is framed by the head and torso of a uniformed officer. If the best stuff tends to be such deliberate pieces as Song—a self-portrait with 3D microphone—the spirit of the more offhand work imbues the entire show. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, Dec. 3, at District Fine Arts, 1726 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-9100. (Mark Jenkins)