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TO FEB. 22
Post-impressionism and op both tangled with the science of sight, so how come Seurat gets the blockbuster treatment while Vasarely is relegated to the covers of out-of-print math textbooks? One reason is the easily conventionalized subject matter of the Grande-Jatte and its ilk: Make something pretty enough and people don’t have to care about your technique. Another is that op got overexposed. People warm to tricks of the eye about as readily as they do to Sundays in the park, but they tire of them more quickly. A certain measure of high-art respect accorded op a longer moment in the sun than, say, the Magic Eye and Photomosaic crazes of the mid- to late-’90s, but once retinally active patterns became more signs of the times than causes for perusal, they were destined for the cultural dustbin. The latest local re-examination of cool ’60s aesthetics, “P[OP]” considers the overlap between op and Pop and, to a lesser degree, color-field painting. Alongside the subtle gradations of Josef Albers students and Yale roomies Julian Stanczak and Richard Anuszkiewicz, you’ll find the brash primaries of Robert Indiana (Number 5 is pictured), who, thanks to the “LOVE” motif that got away from him and ate the world and all its stamps, was similarly ashcanned. His Helio Love shares with the prints of Pop princes Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein a fondness for the clashing red-blue divide. Strictly speaking, none of these jarring works are 3-D, but a pair of cellophane glasses (thoughtfully provided) can help break down the images into their constituent parts. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and by appointment, to Saturday, Feb. 22, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Glenn Dixon)