TO MAY 28

If Willem de Kooning was the sexiest American painter of the 20th century, then “In Process” aspires to be the artist’s Kama Sutra. The exhibit attempts to document the later working methods of the quintessential abstract expressionist in two parts. The first focuses on de Kooning’s use of translucent vellum to trace, imprint, and transmit images from one painting to another; the second explores the methods the painter employed at the end of his career, as well as his morbid fascination with recycling his own compositions. Although wall text throughout the exhibition goes to great lengths to describe de Kooning’s work habits, the viewer is often distracted by the flat-out sexiness of the painter’s characteristic smears. The exhibit’s 29 paintings (Quality of a Piece of Paper is pictured) are delicate, curvaceous abstractions that prove to be subtle masterpieces: Each of de Kooning’s gentle strokes, floating in a sea of foamy white, is worth 1,000 pounds of color—which is, perhaps, the most profound statement of the painter’s genius. On view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, to Monday, May 28, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. $5. (202) 639-1700. (Chris Richards)

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