APRIL 1-22

Complementing the museum’s show of landscapes by 19th-century photographer Carlton Watkins (whose Cape Horn Near Celilo is pictured), this series is not as big as all outdoors, but it does cover a lot of ground. The five programs feature mostly documentaries, but also include such pioneering westerns as John Ford’s The Iron Horse, a color-tinted 1924 silent about the construction of the transcontinental railroad (at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 1), and Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail, in which a wagon train makes the hazardous crossing of the Teton Pass—rendered in the 65mm format that was brand-new when this 1930 film was shot (at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 2). The film most directly about Watkins’ work is Richard Serra’s Railroad Turnbridge, which returns to a site the photographer depicted a century earlier to explore the technical issues of creating images; it’s shown with some early short films of California (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1). Artist David Hockney explores similar themes in a non-Western context with A Day on the Grand Canal With the Emperor of China, or Surface Is Illusion, But So Is Depth, shown with the Brothers Quay’s De Artificiali Perspectiva (Anamorphosis), an animated introduction to perspective (at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, to Friday, April 21). The series ends with two films that re-evaluate 19th-century notions of the American West: Deseret examines Utah and the groups drawn there, and Yosemite: The Fate of Heaven contrasts contemporary images with observations from a doctor’s 1851 diary (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22). At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)