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TO NOV. 1
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Yugoslav-born, Belgrade-based photographer Vesna Pavlovic has a knack for documenting compromised glory. Her 2002 “Hotels” series featured massive, deserted lodgings built by Yugoslavia’s former Communist leadershipempty spaces that all but reek of melancholy. “Sculpture Gardens,” Pavlovic’s current exhibition, documents guest-worker communities in eastern Serbia, where the Vlachs, an ethnic minority, reside. Sociologically, “Sculpture Gardens” is rich stuff, examining how an economically distressed subculture attempts to construct a comfortable home environment (Miùsljenovac I is pictured)with the help of faux-Coral Gables balustrades, Fountains of Wayne statuary, and ultrakitschy fawn, puppy, and flamingo ornamentseven when most residents are away for much of the year. Artistically, however, the show is a disappointment. Pavlovic offers mediocre-quality film, uninspired mounting, and compositions that can be charitably described as “workmanlike.” The absence of people lends her scenes a certain sadness, but unlike the rural Mississippi juke joints photographed by Birney Imes, Pavlovic’s scenes are infused by detritus so generic that they never inspire a sense of place. The show is on view from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays though Saturdays, to Saturday, Nov. 1, at Fusebox, 1412 14th St. NW. Free. (202) 299-9220. (Louis Jacobson)