Best New Art Space Almost Near D.C.
George Mason University Art and Design Building
George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, (703) 426-2447
The 50 percent increase in space for studios, classrooms, and workshops that George Mason University’s School of Art bought for itself with its new $25 million Art and Design Building afforded it about a zillion-percent increase in visibility in the D.C. art community. Mind you, the 88,000-square-foot Art and Design Building isn’t any nearer to the District. It will still take a long slog out Interstate 66 to get there, with only the promise of lunch at the Eden Center to brighten the long commute. One show, however, was worth sitting through traffic: “Tattoos of Ships,” a 2010 solo exhibit featuring Maggie Michael. Going for gold, the school invited Michael to take on its new ground-floor gallery space as if it were her studio, and she accepted. The results—sculpture, installation, and painting, much applied directly to the wall, all resembling Michael’s take on El Lissitzky’s classic Proun project—were unlike anything to be seen in the District or its environs last year. See? The drive can be worth it.