Arts Desk

Gallery and Museum Roundup: Reviews of O’Keeffe, Fraser Gallery, and Timothy O’Sullivan

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Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, View Across the Top of the Falls, 1874" by Timothy O'Sullivan from "Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

OPENING: "I Dream Awake" opens today as part of Pop-up Project; photographs by John Brown open tomorrow at Cross Mackenzie Gallery; work by Craig A. Kraft opens tomorrow at Osuna Art; "Pentimenti: After the Flood" opens Saturday at AU's Katzen Arts Center.

CLOSING: Work by Craig Kraft closes tomorrow at Washington Sculptors Group; "Roads and Paths" closes tomorrow at Goethe-Institut; "Go for the Gold!" closes Saturday at Civilian Arts Projects; "On/Off the Grid" closes Saturday at Irvine Contemporary; "Women in Art" closes Sunday at Del Ray Artisans Gallery; "The DCist Exposed Photography Show" closes Sunday at Long View Gallery.

ONGOING: See our listings.

THIS WEEK'S REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP:

The Phillips Collection plays host to "Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction," an exhibit of the artist best known for painting what she calls flowers, and, well, the rest of us call vaginas. Though Georgia O'Keeffe always maintained that audiences were projecting their own erotic thoughts onto her benign work, there is no denying the sexuality of the photographs taken by Alfred Stieglitz, O'Keeffe's lover and mentor, on display with the rest of the collection at Phillips. "Georgia O'Keeffe: Abstraction" allows observers to look at the range of O'Keeffe's work, ranging from Stieglitz's racy boudoir shots to geometrically chaste work like Sky Above Clouds III/Above the Clouds III. Read critic Maura Judkis's review here.

While D.C.'s museums and galleries have no shortage of snaps from professional photographers, some of the entries in the 9th annual International Photography Competition at Bethesda's Fraser Gallery prove that amateur and semiprofessional photography is a force to be reckoned with. While some pictures tend to pay respect to the professional photographs that came before them, others offer a new perspective, such as Edward Hahn's photo of a small dock floating in calm waters. Some of the artists use digital manipulation to great success, while others do just as well playing it straight, like David Orbock's portrait of the Lincoln Memorial. The amateur entrants' works at Fraser span countries and range from landscape images to photos of circus performers. To read Louis Jacobson's review, go here.

Wide-set, sepia-toned images of barely settled Western lands are not uncommon to find in this day and age, but Timothy O'Sullivan, largely overlooked until the 1970s (nearly 100 years after his death) is considered one of the best photographers of the discipline. Referred to as "the most experienced expeditionary photographer in the country" by historian Beaumont Newhall in The History of Photography, O'Sullivan took risks photographing in mines, capturing images of dead people during battle, and using a wet-plate photographic process. The exhibit showcases the extent of O'Sullivan's photographic range, displaying everything from shots of large geological formations to soldiers lying dead in fields during the Civil War, but doesn't give much explanation as to how one interest led to the other. Though he was not well known during his own life, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's O'Sullivan exhibit is a fascinating, albeit incomplete look at one of the finest photographers of 1800s Americana. To read Louis Jacobson's review, head here.

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