We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



Whenever an art-world eminence primarily known for something other than making art is given a museum show, the first question should always be: Does the work deserve it? In the case of Around Town chatterbox William Dunlap’s paintings now on display at the Corcoran, the answer is: In a pig’s ear, buddy. A second question—was it nonetheless worthwhile? Well, if you’ve got a well-developed taste for folly, you’d be hard pressed to do better than this show, modest in size if not ambition, of works that fail miserably in disguising with high-toned attempts at macho assemblage the essential fact of Dunlap’s art: He would love just being a hack painter if only it paid the bills. As it is, I delighted not only in Dunlap’s happy-painter pups and landscapes, but also in the casting of an arrow-riddled Indian as St. Sebastian of the Plains; I scribbled furiously when I read Jack Cowart’s positively Wallerian wall text (“He romances, in his careful artistic waltz, the past into the present”) and laughed aloud when I saw an artist’s palette, painted black and affixed to the wall with (again) an arrow. Perhaps tonight Dunlap will hit his mark when he joins “Corcoran Curator of Contemporary Art and superb interviewer of art figures” Terrie Sultan to do what he does best—talk. At 7:30 p.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Hammer Auditorium, 17th & New York Ave. NW. $12. For reservations call (202) 347-3601.