Arts Desk

Reviewed: Marisa Baumgartner and Julie Linowes at the American University Museum

Rarely have exhibit and venue been as perfectly matched as Marisa Baumgartner and the American University Museum. Her exhibit “Grand Avenues” scrutinizes—to the point of obsession—the traffic circles of Washington, D.C., from the famous (Dupont) to the obscure (the one without a name at 16th Street  in Silver Spring). Not only is the exhibit space located in full view of Ward Circle, but the heart of Baumgartner’s work—a series of 10-foot-tall panels documenting the statuary and the dominant hues of the city’s circles—appear on facing walls that curve gently in a circular pattern (above). Nearby, Baumgartner provides another curving array—of painstakingly handwritten posters that offer information about each circle within a faux web page format, from the mysterious disappearance of Observatory Circle from Google Earth images when Dick Cheney lived there to the history of racial covenants near Chevy Chase Circle. Also showing: “Stain,” an eight-channel video installation (below) by Julie Linowes featuring dense, dreamlike imagery set to a heavy operatic score, examining themes of conscious and subconscious that have long animated her work.

The exhibits are on view 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday to March 13 at the American University Museum in the Katzen Arts Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. (202) 885-1300. Free.

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