D.C’s New School is in Session

The red vinyl of New York City is blue serge in Washington; regimes in artistic expression change more subtly and quietly here

By Beth Farnstorm

Holly Bass in "Diary of a Baby Diva"

in "Diary of a Baby Diva"

It’s a new year. Out with the old, sure; but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater in 2008 (Wasn’that a performance art piece at Decatur Blue back in 2001?). In art, that’s nearly impossible; that particular “baby’s” bath of self-referential murk and brine doubles as its life-giving amniotic fluid. In plain English, an artist’s influences and personal experience are so densely layered that separating original idea from borrowed is like sifting the Aegean Stables for one particular horse’s handiwork. Be that as it may, we’d like to talk about the new class. It’s been argued by sage citizens of this transient town that gallery life in Washington has entered a boom period these past few years, and one imagines that credit must be divvyed up between the Class of 2008 and their intrepid fore-artists. Here’s hoping this postmodern pep rally pays adequate tribute to the big Friday night game as we venture stoically (pom-poms raised) onto Washington’s artistic playing field. WL spoke to a select group of emerging – and established – talent about creating art in the District.

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