Kriston Capps

  • picks March 07, 2016

    Elena Manferdini

    As an architect, Elena Manferdini works at the intersection of theoretical design and the decorative arts. Her architecture frequently takes the form of installations, or vice versa, and is scaled to human experience, especially when it operates at the level of a lobby or facade. Manferdini’s aesthetic is also suited to prints and textiles, owing in part to the ebullient range of pastel colors she employs—a quality that distinguishes her in a field that tends to be relentlessly severe and sleek. Her paper works, then, are not preparatory studies for building designs but a critical dimension of

  • diary November 11, 2015

    A Tale of Two Cities

    MONDAYS ARE SLOW FOR CONGRESS. The so-called bed-check votes that kick off the week for the world’s greatest deliberative body keep senators and representatives grounded in Washington, DC, deciding new names for post offices and confirming benign appointments. Otherwise, Senator Tom Udall might have graced one of the biggest parties the National Mall’s ever seen—a party that took place in Lower Manhattan.

    That left Jill Cooper Udall, a board member for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, without a date for the museum’s fortieth anniversary gala at 4 World Trade Center. So she asked Iris

  • diary May 22, 2015

    Hirshhorn of Plenty

    CURTAINS OF RAIN greeted dolled-up attendees for Saturday night’s gala at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Valets with oversize umbrellas led tuxedos and gowns from their black cars on Independence Avenue to the soggy red carpet at the museum’s entrance. It was all for naught: There was no staying dry, but it hardly mattered.

    Dark skies lifted, eventually, making for an auspicious evening for...what, exactly? The event was intended as a fete for Shirin Neshat, the Iranian artist whose video and photography graces “Shirin Neshat: Facing History,” a midcareer survey that opened this week.

  • picks March 26, 2015

    Hiroshi Sugimoto

    Sculpture is only a sliver of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s practice. It’s a shame there isn’t more of it: This project show finds the Japanese artist tabbing effortlessly between dimensions. A trio, no, a trinity of sculptural works in machined aluminum dwells on the same sense of arrested time that Sugimoto captures in his photographs. “Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models,” a sampling of his sculpture and related photography, is a satellite of a larger survey also at the Phillips on Man Ray’s “Shakespearean Equations” paintings. Both shows revolve around nineteenth-century mathematical models (a

  • picks October 07, 2013

    Kerry James Marshall

    While Washington, DC, celebrates two important civil rights milestones in 2013—the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation—it is also honoring African Americans in its largest art museum. For the first time in the institution’s seventy-two-year history, the National Gallery of Art is presenting a solo show of a living African American artist. And while it is surprising that this has not happened sooner, it is especially so in Kerry James Marshall’s case, as his work is such a perfect fit. (Note that the National

  • picks October 18, 2012

    Dan Steinhilber

    Tucked away in a marvelous Philip Johnson–designed building in Washington, D.C.’s tony Foxhall neighborhood, the Kreeger Museum is as proud of its building as it is of its handsome, modest, modern collection. The Kreeger commissioned Dan Steinhilber to create a site-specific solo show, and so he did, but he considered the building not as a museum but rather in its context as a former home. Rummaging through the old belongings of David and Carmen Kreeger and selecting long-hidden and discarded ephemera—a loveseat, an ironing board, three horrid stuffed marlins—Steinhilber reveals a secret history

  • picks May 02, 2012

    Colby Caldwell

    The southern gothic is a trope in American photography, and it has a long history in Washington, DC, well beyond the many exhibitions bearing the theme that have appeared in the capital, such as shows by William Eggleston, Sally Mann, and William Christenberry. Colby Caldwell, with his latest solo exhibitions at Hemphill and Civilian Art Projects, strives to prove that dilapidated antebellum structures still constitute a relevant subject and an integral component of the American photographic canon.

    Caldwell’s series “spent,” 2009–12, divided between both galleries, presents oversize, highly

  • diary March 26, 2012

    Screen Song

    DOUG AITKEN’S SONG 1 took one bunch by surprise: joggers. As Washington’s fit ran their twilight routes on the National Mall on Thursday evening, they inevitably slowed to take in the spectacle, necks craned toward the facades of the Hirshhorn. There, at the Smithsonian museum, or, more specifically, on the museum, Aitken had begun projecting his new video, using eleven mechalike projectors to transform the entire exterior surface of the ring-shaped building into a film screen.

    In-the-know onlookers lined up early in the afternoon, lugging lawn chairs from the museum’s patio to the perimeter of

  • picks September 06, 2010

    Robert Ryman

    Robert Ryman’s “Variations and Improvisations,” his first-ever solo exhibition in Washington, DC, finds the artist exercising a seemingly quiet theme with considerable muscularity. Over the course of twenty-six paintings produced between the 1960s and the present, Ryman explores the white square, a subject he has worked with for his entire career. Several of the pieces on view are straightforward compositions, but the greater number reveal an irreverence that runs contrary to the white-square abstractions of artists like Malevich or Rothko. For Spectrum VIII, 1984, Ryman’s signature (plus the

  • picks July 16, 2010

    Mary Early

    That Mary Early’s work qualifies as post-Minimalist is plain. By first building components and then balancing them against one another in roughly circular structures that have not been mapped out in advance, she largely allows early decisions in her process regarding the form of her pieces to dictate the final shapes of her assembled work. In turn, the whole obscures the parts. In her latest exhibit at Hemphill Fine Arts, these parts include levers, cross-shaped bars, and elongated rails she has hooked together to form circular fencelike structures. But her process is not so obvious, nor its

  • diary May 29, 2010

    Washington Heights

    Washington, DC

    SOME TWO HUNDRED well-wishers, friends, colleagues, and descendants of art collector and philanthropist Olga Hirshhorn gathered last Friday night at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden for the benefactor’s ninetieth birthday party, a black-tie affair that began with opera tributes and modern dance and concluded with heavy-metal covers and Kanye West shutter-shade handouts. Over the interim, Hirshhorn’s friends and family—including tennis partners and Cove Inn regulars from Naples (Florida), fly-fishermen from Martha’s Vineyard, and diplomats from Washington, DC—enjoyed a private, twilight

  • picks March 23, 2010

    Mia Feuer

    Two trends in sculpture that emerged in the first decade of the twenty-first century––isotropy and radiality––figure prominently in Mia Feuer’s installation of a controlled explosion of foam girders that fills this gallery. Like the wooden beams and fluorescent tubes of Björn Dahlem’s sculptural installations, Feuer’s girders in Suspended Landscape, 2010, follow along mostly straight radial lines from an origin point that appears to shift based on the viewer’s vantage in the room. Yet from any perspective, the crystalline lattice of booms, jibs, and sheaves that the artist has based on industrial

  • picks February 18, 2010

    Jeremy Kost

    The JPEG has largely supplanted the analog photograph as the preferred medium for party documentation, conveyed through endless image streams dedicated to the fleeting and residual impressions of last night’s party. In his exhibition “Anyone Other than Me,” Jeremy Kost strives to reclaim lost ground for the photograph, capturing one thousand (and then some) celebrity and nightlife portraits using Polaroid instant film. In this effort, he is partly successful. The Polaroid deliberately signals to the viewer an effort at displacement: The vernacular, democratic camera stands at odds with the access