Autumn in The District: How to Experience Art in DC This Fall

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Re-purposed immersive works straight from the Burning Man playa. A museum dedicated entirely to women artists. Poignant, delightful fall shows at our Superfine! exhibiting galleries. Presidential portraiture by contemporary artists. Superfine! director Alex Mitow shows us six reasons to celebrate art in the nation's capital leading up to the inaugural edition of Superfine! DC at Union Market.

1) No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at Renwick Gallery

Are you a dyed in the wool (or pleather) burner with your own camp, champing at the bit to get your tickets at the very first second each year, or do you wonder why all of these finance folks are suddenly heading to the desert to ride bikes and cars shaped like ladybugs through dust storms while dressed like a troupe of steampunk Elton Johns with Native American headdresses? Either way, we can all admit that the artwork at Burning Man is pretty damn impressive, and because of this groundbreaking show at The Renwick you no longer have to subject yourself to the rigors of life at the bottom of a dry like bed to feel radically included. Through September 16th, Washingtonians and visitors alike can bear witness to the phenomenon at the Renwick Gallery, with works by burner-cum-artists like Candy Chang, Marco Cochrane, Five Ton Crane Arts Collective, and Richard Wilks. While these artists' works will be removed on September 16, others by David Best, FoldHaus Art Collective, Aaron Taylor Kuffner, HYBYCOZO (Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu), Christopher Schardt, and Leo Villareal will stay up through January 21st so you can get your Burning Man fix.


Above: FoldHaus, Shrumen Lumen, 2016. Photo by Rene Smith.

Can't make it to the Renwick? Six Burning Man sculptures have also made their way beyond The Renwick's walls into the surrounding neighborhood.

2) National Museum of Women in the Arts

If there's one thing we've been steadfast about supporting through all Superfine! fairs, it's the progression of women artists in the art market. A fair, transparent model has made sure that talented female artists find themselves represented through all of our fairs, so it's natural that we're excited about a museum dedicated entirely to women in the arts. If you haven't yet visited NMWA, this fall is a perfect time to do so. Highlights from this fall's program include the MakeHER Mart, a pop-up market dedicated to female artisans, and a screening of the film "Most Beautiful Island" by Spanish director Ana Asensio, part of a collaboration between the museum and SPAIN arts and culture's Mujeres de Cine: Traveling Spanish Film Showcase Made by Women.

Whichever special programs you attend, definitely do make time beforehand to visit the museum's permanent collection which contains works from a myriad of modern and contemporary female artists.


Above: work by Yael Bartana at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

3) "Passages and Borders" by Rosa Vera, at Touchstone Gallery

We're thrilled to have Touchstone, consistently voted one of DC's favorite galleries by outlets like Washington City Paper and the Washington Post, with us at Superfine! DC and (almost) even more excited to check out their fall show of luscious, color-filled works by Peruvian-born artist Rosa Vera. The series on display draws from the artist's diverse experiences as an immigrant to the United States and her travels throughout the Americas. An opening event on Friday, September 14th, with live guitar music and appetizers courtesy of the across-the-pond patisserie specialists at Maison Kayser make this a DC fall must-see show.

Enjoy Touchstone Gallery? Be sure to get tickets to the fair and visit their booth at Superfine! DC.

4) Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley paint Barack + Michelle at the National Portrait Gallery

If you haven't seen them yet, now's the time. We love Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald's work and it's absolutely not a secret that we deeply, deeply miss Barack and Michelle. While we can't recreate 2008-2016, we can certainly relive that era of relative tranquility and progress together through the portraiture of these two incredible contemporary American artists. You'll find Kehinde's portrait of President Barack Obama in the America's Presidents gallery, and first lady Michelle Obama's portrait by Amy Sherald in the 20th Century Americans gallery. In the words of National Portrait Gallery Director Kim Sajet, "...the best portraiture has the power to bring world leaders into dialogue with everyday Americans. These two paintings fall into that category, and we believe they will serve as an inspiration for generations to come.”

We agree, and strongly urge you to get over and see these inspirational homages to two beloved leaders, and while you're at it swing by the “One Year: 1968, An American Odyssey" exhibition, a survey in 30 portraits of one of the most important years in American history (and, coincidentally, the year that the National Portrait Gallery opened its doors).

Below (L to R): portraits of president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively


5) "Along the Enchanted Way" by Gabe Brown and Akemi Maegawa at Adah Rose Gallery

Tucked onto a quaint allée in Kensington, Maryland, just twenty minutes from the bustle of central DC, Adah Rose Gallery allows art lovers to interact with a dazzling array of contemporary artists in a warm and intimate setting. Add to that a passionate gallerist (Adah Rose herself) willing to go above and beyond to help collectors new and established fall in love with artists' work, and you've got one of the top settings in the DMV area to discover new contemporary art. Bright, organic, geometric works by Gabe Brown along with charming sculptural pieces by Akemi Maegawa make this a fall duo show not to be missed.

Our pick: drop in on Saturday 9/15 from 6-8 for a vernissage opening replete with live music by Terraplane.


...and of course, Superfine! DC at Union Market!

What kind of art fair kicks off with a Halloween Masquerade Vernissage, showcases more than 60% women artists, features work friendly to collectors at all levels with 75% of work available on offer from $300 to $5,000, and encourages young collectors to feel comfortable in an art setting by feeding them ice cream? Why, Superfine! DC of course! The first full-scale contemporary art fair to touch down in The District, Superfine! DC is where we want you to be this fall, of course after you've treated yourself to all of the wonderful happenings in this post. 

Expect thousands of available works curated to Washingtonians' tastes - and their pocketbooks - along with a political bent unique to DC with artists and work focused on feminism, immigration, and other urgent topics of the here and now. Our 70 exhibiting artists and galleries are excited to meet their favorite art-lover - you - and tickets are now available. DC, we're happy to meet you, and can't wait to show you what we've got in store.

Don't wait - grab your tickets to Superfine! DC now while all ticket types are still available.


Above: "We'll Always Be Young" by Susan LaMont, courtesy of Superfine! DC exhibitor Susan Calloway Fine Arts. To see our full Superfine! DC exhibitor list release on 9/19, scroll down to the yellow block and sign up for our newsletter.