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TO MARCH 26
Anybody with four chords and a banjo could trump John Cage for an audience’s attention—or so an old professor of mine said whenever talk turned to avant-garde music. Thank goodness, no folksy troubadours wandered into G Fine Art on a recent Friday: To accompany the gallery’s current exhibition, “Group Loop,” William Basinski and Richard Chartier offered live electronic sound art. Chartier generated cavernous rumblings and high-pitched clicks and pops that volleyed across the darkened room; these gradually rose in frequency to a continuous hum pierced by stuttering bass pulses. Basinski offered a slow succession of piano notes, reverberating like sonar into the depths—a melody threading into itself, never resolving. Afterward, several listeners said they had lost all sense of time. Loops seldom offer clear beginnings, endings, narratives; the effect is more like life than art, which we expect to frame experience for us. “Group Loop” offers works from 12 artists meditating on that sensibility in various mediums, everything from video to photography to crochet. In Poor Blumfeld (pictured), Euan MacDonald allows two videos of a bouncing ball to slowly go out of sync—creating an experience not unlike watching your car’s turn signal weave in and out of time with your neighbor’s. Heike Baranowsky’s video work Schwimmerin (1:24) seamlessly repeats a swimmer’s stroke; she never tires—and never reaches the opposite end of her pool. The viewer encounters such dislocations and deferred conclusions throughout the show. The results can be mesmerizing, distracting, or a little of both. But please: No banjos allowed. The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, March 26, at G Fine Art, 1515 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 462-1601. (Jeffry Cudlin)