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TO NOV. 24
Though the new exhibition at the Robert Brown Gallery is titled “Black & White & Color: Contemporary and Modern Photography,” the works on display aren’t really about color. They’re all about concept. Sure, the show includes some straightforward works: a subtle nighttime landscape by Mark Klett, an industrial site chronicled by Hilla and Bernd Becher, and a skillful series of portraits of the artist Joseph Beuys made by Kobayashi Masaaki. But most of the pieces date from the mid-’80s to the early ’90sa period when the art world especially prized conceptual creativity. For Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin, that meant boldly painting their faces with intellectual doodles and taking a self-portrait. For Anton Henning, it meant scribbling over an indistinct photographic image before mounting it. For Lorie Novak, it meant combining projected images with scale models inside a disorienting, enclosed space. For Andy Goldsworthy, it meant painstakingly building a fragile object from snow, then photographing it to document its fleetingness. Even Frantisek Drtikol, whose ’20s-era photographs (Composition (with two arches) is pictured) are represented by dusky prints made in 1996, tested the boundaries of his era by forthrightly posing acrobatic female models in geometrically intriguing poses. If visitors can look past the pretension that permeates many of the exhibition’s works, they will indeed discover artistic concepts worth mulling. On view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, to Saturday, Nov. 24, at Robert Brown Gallery, 2030 R St. NW. Free. (202) 483-4383. (Louis Jacobson)