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TO MARCH 26
Joe Ovelman’s Washington debut, in a group show last year at Conner Contemporary Art, was a riveting conceptual piece: a series of black-and-white photographs from 2001 that the artist made of himself fellating 17 strangers in New York’s Central Park. In his return to Washington (and Conner) this month for a solo show, Ovelman, er, comes up short. His 2002 series Snow Queen is named for a gay slang term that refers to black men who only date white men. Like 17 Strangers (subjugation), it features photographs of the artist in Central Park, but this time they’re cheesy color images of Ovelman vamping in the snow in his grandmother’s White Stag coat, a blue sequined dress, white stockings, and high heels, photographed at night with harsh flash lighting. (Untitled 8 is pictured.) Ovelman is less convincing as a runway model than as (apparently) a stuporous drunk; the title’s insider joke is about all the series has going for it. Ovelman’s other new project, Post-It, features framed yellow sticky notes emblazoned with such handwritten pearls as “Thinking about Grant, I jerked off,” “Keep your New York,” and “Please, let me do it.” With Sex and the City having long ago made an icon of the Post-it breakup, about the only thing to marvel at concerning Ovelman’s series is his chutzpah in getting buyers to shell out $200 for a scrawled-on sticky. Far more interesting are the three concurrently showing fluorescent-light-and-mirror works by Baltimore-based artist Chul Hyun Ahn, which seem to recede into the wall as forked paths—a minimalist update of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” The show is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, to Saturday, March 26, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Louis Jacobson)