We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
TO OCT. 23
One of the growing number of artists who have forsaken cramped studios that stink of wet clay and linseed oil for the austere efficiency of a laptop, Damon Crain specializes in what he calls “site-specific sculpture installations.” The latest environment the 25-year-old has transformed is the District of Columbia Arts Center, sugarcoating it into “Sweettooth Recontextualized.” The third in a series that is pure bubblegum pop art (someone really should pipe in Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy”), “Recontextualised” is about many things: content vs. context, culture vs. commodification, transformation vs. petrification. Mostly, however, it’s about lollipops. Working round the clock for a week, Crain remade the DCAC into a wonderland of blues and pinks where silver trophies sprout bouquets of swirling suckers like plucked roses, two enormous medallions made of sugar and frosting—each weighing 75 pounds—slowly harden into inedible monstrosities, and jars of mints sit in rows on Plexiglas shelves like lab specimens. Slightly creepy vestiges of Crain’s previous “Sweettooth” efforts remain—light boxes decorated with quasi-threatening images of a man in a uniform surrounded by sweets and military icons (pictured)—but mainly Crain’s out to have fun. A series of meaningless slogans (“THIS IS IT,” “HERE TO THERE,” “YOU ARE IT”) is captured by pink and blue polka dots on the floor and walls. Following them around the room, the viewer discovers him- or herself surrounded by shiny foil, momentarily transformed—and this is the installation’s coolest trick—into a piece of wrapped hard candy. On view 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 2 to 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday, to Saturday, Oct. 23, at the District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. (202) 462-7833. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)