TO JUNE 16

Remember August 1998? The embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Bill Clinton’s checkmated confession on television that he did, in fact, have sexual relations with “that woman.” The ineffectual American bombing of al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, overshadowed by the even less effectual bombing of an alleged chemical-weapons factory in the Sudan. Respected opinion writers and disrespectful Republican congressmen decrying the bombings as misguided Wag the Dog attempts to distract from salacious Oval Office wrongdoings. A horrible sense that serious matters of state were not being taken seriously, while trivial matters were given pride of place before a disgusted nation. Scottish sculptor Kenny Hunter (pictured here with his Citizen Firefighter)—whose first American solo show, “Chase the Devil” at Conner Contemporary Art, also represents the gallery’s first all-sculpture show—remembers, and he presents Osama bin Laden and Monica Lewinsky as bookends to the period. Literally. In What Is History? (Monica Lewinsky + Osama bin Laden), Hunter displays busts of two faces that rocked the nation, forever connected and separated by history—and, in the show, by a row of books on passion, self-government, and history. Hunter works in glass-reinforced plastic casings, sanded and smoothed to a marblelike feel. But these are not your average classical memorial sculptures; Hunter’s monumental anti-monuments on topics from firefighters to urban anomie burst with friendly, bouncy curves and exaggerated proportions. It’s a style that works best when coupled with subjects that call out for a wry, ironic look; when coupled with less substantial topics, the thick, cartoonish sculptures look like Jeff Koons without the kitschy irony. The exhibition is on view from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Sunday, June 16, at Conner Contemporary Art, 1730 Connecticut Ave. NW, 2nd Floor. Free. (202) 588-8750. (Garance Franke-Ruta)