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TO DEC. 31
In his current exhibition at the German Historical Institute, Washington photographer Wess Brown documents the post-reunification “New Berlin”—a “modern, brilliant city center, with world-class architecture,” as he describes it. (Potsdamer Platz is pictured.) Odd, then, that Brown has produced images whose dull, gray monotone and lack of sunshine show the city in something less than its most appealing light. The closest Brown comes to describing the wonder of the new metropolis comes in his images of its airy, futuristic atriums and the angular metal façades of its new postmodern structures. More common, though, are grim depictions of spaces under bridge girders, crumbling architectural details, graffiti-strewn walls, and ordinary-looking storefronts. Brown’s most pleasing photographs are his most abstract, especially a nighttime image of a building whose outer borders are defined by a rigid matrix of bright vertical bars. Ultimately, Brown’s work is a far cry from Frank Hallam Day’s subtle and incisive color portraits of the new Berlin, which were on display earlier this year at Addison-Ripley Fine Art. The show is on view from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, to Friday, Dec. 31, at the German Historical Institute, 1607 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Free. (202) 387-3355. (Louis Jacobson)