Gallery Openings and Events

National Museum of Women in the Arts Presents Jamie Porter Border Crossing and Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin

Jami Porter Lara, LDS-MHB-WVBR-0416CE-08, 2016; Pit-fired clay, 11 x 10 x 3 1/2 in.; On loan from Debra Baxter, Photo by Addison Doty.

Jami Porter Lara, LDS-MHB-WVBR-0416CE-08, 2016; Pit-fired clay, 11 x 10 x 3 1/2 in.; On loan from Debra Baxter, Photo by Addison Doty.

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Free Community Day: Friday, February 17 from 10am to 8pm

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On view Feb. 17–May 14, 2017, two complementary exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) explore the American Southwest. Contemporary sculptor Jami Porter Lara uses a 2,000-year-old process to create ceramic objects that resemble a ubiquitous icon of modern life—the plastic bottle. Featuring 25 works, Border Crossing: Jami Porter Lara is the first time that work by the Albuquerque-based artist will be shown on the East Coast.

While recently exploring a remote stretch of the U.S./Mexico border, Porter Lara discovered many two-liter bottles used by migrants to carry water through the harsh environment. These bottles are the most recent in a lineage of artifacts that remain from millennia of human travel through the region. Using these found objects as source, she reconceptualizes the plastic bottle, blurring the line between what we see as natural and manufactured, and illuminating its function as a precious object—a vessel capable of sustaining human life.

Coinciding with Border Crossing is an exhibition that includes work by Native American potter Maria Martinez (ca. 1887–1980) and photographer Laura Gilpin (1891–1979). New Ground: The Southwest of Maria Martinez and Laura Gilpin features 26 pieces of pottery and 48 platinum, gelatin silver and color print photographs. Martinez used a black-on-black pottery design technique that reflected her Pueblo artistic traditions and appealed to a minimalist modern sensibility. Gilpin, hailed during her lifetime as the “grand dame of American photography,” was one of the first women to capture the landscape and peoples of the American West on black-and-white film.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts is located at 1250 New York Avenue NW. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit nmwa.org.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and free for NMWA members and youths 18 and under. Free Community Days take place on the first Sunday of each month. For more information about NMWA, visit nmwa.org.