Check out today’s Washington Post Style & Arts section to read a very nice piece about our fair city’s cool art scene. Lavanya Ramanathan and Rachel Beckman report on four arty events that were unconventional in unique ways. Though the Hirshhorn’s After Hours takes place in a traditional museum setting, the gathering didn’t feel like a conventional stodgy museum event at all. What I have particularly liked about this series of happenings at the Hirshhorn is that they are reaching out to DC residents, which helps bridge the huge gap between the city’s federal art institutions and our thriving local art scene. Hurray for the Hirshhorn! Over at Civilian Art Projects, I love the many ways in which Jayme McLellan connects DC’s rich music past with the best of DC’s emerging contemporary artists. (I can’t believe I missed a puppet show!) Finally, I love that Art Whino provides a great (and as far as I know, only) venue for showing street and graffiti art, and they throw a great party too!
Of course, they covered The Pink Line Project’s Fixation event a couple weeks ago….
THE ART CROWD GOES IN-CROWD
Sunday, November 30, 2008; M14
Washington has a vibrant, under-the-radar art party scene that has long been visible only to those in the know. But thanks in part to a growing community of art socialites, bloggers and paparazzi, nearly 3,000 people are suddenly pounding down the doors of a museum on a Friday night, and 700 are lining up in the rain to get into a crumbling skate park to see photography. Party organizers sometimes lament the new notoriety, but the crowds keep coming. This month, we fanned out to four events to capture a slice of the action.
– Rachel Beckman and Lavanya Ramanathan
Fight Club, “Fixation,” Nov. 14:
Getting to Fight Club, an underground skateboarding, art and music space near the Convention Center, involved stumbling down a brick, high-heels-unfriendly alley and waiting in a long line. In the rain.
Until the opening of “Fixation,” a photography exhibit that was part of FotoWeek DC, the space was pretty much one of Washington’s great hipster myths. (Even the name of the place is taken from the 1999 movie about a secret society: First rule of Fight Club, you do not talk about Fight Club.)
“We’re not open. We’re not anything,” co-founder Dan Zeman told me warily. “We don’t do any business here.”
And that was part of the allure; more than 700 people — posh galleristas, Howard students, moms, well-groomed men in blazers, skateboarders — poured into that night’s bash, which, despite the crowd, felt like a house party, with kegs and the whole standing-around thing.
The exhibit was sponsored by the Pink Line Project, which curates events in support of visual arts, and Ten Miles Square, a new group that fosters photography in the city. Philippa Hughes, Pink Line’s founder, attributed the evening’s success to a scene that’s gone “viral.” “You didn’t need to announce it on the radio. . . . They just came, I don’t know.”