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TO JULY 30
Forget the pandas—there’s a new front in government-sponsored art. For “D.C. Portfolio 2004,” 10 Washington artists were asked by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to produce large, digital-pigment prints of identical size. Before this exhibition, the participating artists hadn’t worked much in digital media, but most of them—some famous and some up-and-coming—contribute worthwhile work. Joey Manlapaz reprises her signature window-reflections series, this time with a welcoming portrayal of local lunch spot Julia’s Empanadas; Kelly Towles offers an oddly compelling caricature of a red insect-man wearing boxing gloves, looking like a refugee from the movie version of The Wall; and Trish Tillman contributes a dazzlingly repetitive minimalist pattern that looks something like a patch of deep-red bubble wrap. Several artists offer inspired takes on African-American iconography, including Billy Colbert, who mixes flowers and old photographs to make a still-life collage that seems simultaneously buoyant and funereal (Shock & Awe, pictured), and “Aziza” C. Gibson-Hunter, who utilizes such unexpected elements as asparagus spears, cicada shells, and magnolia trees to create a moodily allegorical work. Of special note is the ubiquitous William Christenberry, who offers a colorful matrix of photographs of battered Adams Morgan storefronts dating from the early ’70s. Though Christenberry’s print doesn’t reach the emotional heights of his celebrated documentation of back-roads Alabama, it’s still a pleasure to see him applying the same elegiac approach to long-lost architectural landmarks of his adopted home city. The show is on view from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, to Friday, July 30, at the David Adamson Gallery, 406 7th St. NW. Free. (202) 628-0257. (Louis Jacobson)