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TO MAY 20
Elementary school: that faraway land of dwarf-scaled furniture and posterboard platitudes. For “School Pictures,” Chicago-based artist Sa Schloff delved deep into the interiors of ’50s- and ’60s-era public schools in Maine and Massachusetts, many of which are now closed. With a keen eye for color, Schloff cataloged the empty rooms where generations of students were schooled in a series of 16 photographs. Blue Cafeteria (pictured) captures long, low tables surrounded by powder-blue walls festooned with paper rainbows and signs with such phrases as “No, thank you” and “Nice to meet you.” The cozy, surreal Music Room presents five little chairs shod in green tennis balls standing at attention in front of a stereo. Pink Wall finds a confused but well-drawn mural—depicting a deer, ducks, tortoises, and two Dick and Jane–style kids—ending abruptly at a hideous radiator, chewing gum visible on the wall beside it; with its chaotic collision of several competing visions, the photograph works as a metaphor for school-system dysfunction. But Multipurpose Room Windows is perhaps Schloff’s finest moment. Its sublime sense of light brings together glazed and misty windows—beyond which lies the wide world—with the murky reflection of a science experiment upon a scuffed-up floor. Do your homework from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, to Thursday, May 20, at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I St. NW. Free. (202) 331-7282. (Bidisha Banerjee)