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TO JUNE 17
First there were the painters of Lascaux, who, on the cave walls of ancient France, explored mankind’s most primitive urges to hunt and kill. Then came the Roman sculptors, who were obsessed with the power and sexuality of the warrior figure. Then came the High Renaissance, when anatomically minded artists like da Vinci created moving depictions of the family jewels. Then, in the late 20th century, bold modern artists delved deep into their own psyches in search of the true essence of childhood. For the last 17,000 years, artists have sought to recreate the most basic and essential aspects of our world—eating, fighting, having sex, and, now, the trials and tribulations of miniature toy ducks. Enter contemporary photographer Larry Gianettino and his brilliant, psychedelic depictions of very small toys, which he first became interested in shooting when he chronicled a toy duck’s travels through America a few years back. Gianettino has expanded his playground repertoire since then: dogs, rabbits, gorillas, bears, lambs, and inscrutable, speciesless “vague pets,” all transformed into disturbing, larger-than-life images through a 20-year-old bellows camera, overlighting, and vivid backgrounds. Ponder how Western art history got from the Great Hall of the Bulls to Psychotic Duck, Lamb With Big Smile, Black Dog (pictured), and Bunny With Headwound in Gianettino’s new show, “Close Friends,” from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, to Saturday, June 17, at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery, 1609 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 328-0955. (Andrew Katz)