We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
TO NOVEMBER 30
Now a Washingtonian, New Zealand-bred meta-classicist Peter Waddell continues his interest in 19th-century Washington and its hand-me-down neoclassical building style in his latest series of paintings, most of which seem epic even though they’re generally smaller (in some cases, much smaller) than the canvases he showed last year at the American Institute of Architects headquarters. Since he paints both realistically and precisely, and affectionately depicts well-known federal edifices (notably the Capitol and the White House), Waddell might be mistaken for an aesthetic reactionary. Yet many of his paintings are profoundly disorienting. In this show, he introduces Washington’s crypto-temples to their antecedents, restoring 16th Street’s Scottish Rite Temple to antiquity and decorating staid federal buildings with classical nudes. He also introduces monumental Washington to New Zealand—and, thereby, to himself—by placing the Capitol in a subtropical forest. Perhaps most striking, though, is a painting that expands Waddell’s vision of the ancient world to include Mayan ruins, and places in the background not the American capitol but American capital, in the form of the Panama Canal. At the Anton Gallery, 2108 R St. NW. (202) 328-0828. (Mark Jenkins)