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TUESDAY

The old saw about art being the byproduct of psychic distress has received so much play over the years that it behooves us to examine the work of those who are truly certifiable. Not that the 34 contemporary artists represented in “Inside Out: The Ninth National Art Exhibition by the Mentally Ill” necessarily recognize him as a forbear, but Swiss attempted child molester Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930) was a trailblazer of sorts. In “The Magic World of Adolf Wölfli,” art historian John MacGregor, a consultant to the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, discusses the man he calls “the greatest of the European psychotic masters.” One of the first institutionalized artists to receive outside recognition, Wölfli specialized in obsessively detailed work rooted in a fascination with algebraic equations and musical composition. That Wölfli’s work prefigures that of other insane artists obviously doesn’t imply any well-trod paths of influence, but his Byzantine patterning and labyrinthine compositions well represent his tribe. At 7:30 p.m. at the National Museum of Health & Medicine’s Russell Auditorium, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Georgia Ave. & Dahlia St. NW. FREE. For reservations call (202) 782-2202. (Glenn Dixon)