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TO APRIL 9
Valeska Soares, a Brazilian-born, Brooklyn-based artist, has produced a wide selection of conceptual art in a variety of media. Visitors to her Washington solo debut at Fusebox will get a flavor of her work, but not the full effect. Consider Puro Teatro, a 2003 work in which Soares built a glass-walled arbor on a small lake to contain a bed-shaped cake she commissioned from Pastelería Ideal, a leading wedding bakery in Mexico City. The work must have been a sight when installed in Mexico City, but the affiliated piece, Sugar Blues, displayed at Fusebox is rather less striking, consisting of a wall-sized matrix of identical photographs of the waxy (and crumby) paper at the bottom of the bakery’s cake boxes. Similarly, Vanishing Point memorializes a garden that was once Soares’ by re-creating her old flower pots in beeswax, porcelain, and aluminum; Inventory, the item in Fusebox, is somewhat less evocative, consisting only of rose-colored vellum reproductions of her preparatory sketches. More fully realized is a series of works about a circular building (now an art museum) in Soares’ hometown of Belo Horizonte; the artist elegaically conjures its casino and nightclub past in a series of stills and video clips peopled by ghostly figures haunting the art-deco building. Still, Soares’ two finest works are her simplest and most self-contained: a pop-art-inspired pair of hotel-room drinking glasses covered by retro-looking sanitary bags (Sparkle is pictured) and a shelf of 24 old perfume bottles in various stages of emptiness, labeled with such titles as “Escape,” “Beautiful,” “Obsession,” “Passion,” and—emphatically last in line—“Poison.” The show is on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and from noon to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, to Saturday, April 9, at Fusebox, 1412 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 299-9220. (Louis Jacobson)