The idea of Hemphill Fine Arts’ exhibition “Viewing Rm” is to present a cross-section of the works that pass through the gallery’s back room, ordinarily to be viewed by collectors and staff rather than members of the public who attend its single-artist, group- and thematic shows. The exhibit is variegated, but like any good combine painting (and those are included too) it coheres pretty well despite itself, as giants like Robert Rauschenberg mix with such local figures as Joseph Mills, Mingering Mike and Colby Caldwell. Three works in particular play gainfully with surface texture – Robin Rose’s bumpy-surfaced agglomeration of rubbery circles, Tom Sachs’ square arrangement of torn duct tape pieces, and a glittering work in sparkly teal by Christopher Howard Brooks. But the documentary photography is especially strong – an image from Paul Fusco’s justly celebrated RFK funeral train series, Don Donaghy’s photograph of beatific old ladies at a JFK event in 1962, Godfrey Frankel’s emotion-laden images of children playing in a World War II Japanese internment camp in Wyoming, and most impressively, William Klein’s dreamily haunting portrait of a young boy in a mid-1950s candy store.
Through March 26 at Hemphill Fine Arts, 1515 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. Open Tue-Sat 10-5. (202) 234 5601