Gallery Openings and Events

WPA Presents Hothouse Video: Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker and South Capitol Skyscape: Avi Gupta

Avi Gupta Angled Rendering courtesy of WPA.

Avi Gupta Angled Rendering courtesy of WPA.

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Opening Reception: Thursday, March 19 from 6pm to 8pm

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Exhibitions are on view 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in hotel lobby. Admission is free.

Hothouse Video: Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker
Conlon and Harker make collaborative videos with a playful approach to serious sociopolitical issues. The banality of the found objects they employ in their works belies an incisive, yet poetic, social criticism on issues such as national identity, mass consumerism and social behavior.

The exhibition’s six works take on a new layer of meaning shown in the setting of our Nation’s Capital. Capapults presents a game of bottle caps catapulted from disposable spoons. The plastic bottle caps are launched at a concrete platform that was once part of a U.S. military installation during the U.S. occupation of the Panama Canal Zone and is now an observation deck in a park. Domino Effect addresses the frenzied real estate boom in Panama which is re-configuring the urban landscape, a situation with which residents of our rapidly developing city can easily identify. Invisible Hands alludes to the social and financial power structures and the symbolic nature of money. In Tropical Zincphony, a mango falls from a tree onto a corrugated zinc roof and goes on a fanciful sensorial journey. Color, texture, sound, and rhythm – key elements of the artist’ work – are used whimsically to explore the roles of unpredictability and spontaneity of life in the tropics. (Video) Game #4 is from a larger series that allude to common tabletop games. The chips and boards are objects recovered from the ruins of historic neighborhoods demolished in Panama City, Panama, which is suffering the effects of an overzealous construction boom, fuelded by rampant real estate speculation. Each game draws on its own internal logic and set of rules to question and critique this rapidly changing urban fabric. In Drinking Song, the artists humorously comment on the construction of national sybols and identities by using Panamanian beer bottles and beer cans to play the United States’ national anthem.

South Capitol Skyscape: Avi Gupta
For the third and final installation of our South Capitol Skyscape series WPA is proud to present a new work by DC-based artist Avi Gupta, entitled, Upward Mobility.

For Upward Mobility, Gupta collaborated with fellow artist Deshaundon Jeanes to photograph a staircase inside the former Corcoran Gallery of Art. Constructed in Beaux-Arts signature style, the stairs match the gallery’s marble floors and are flanked by polished brass railings and an American flag. Yet the stairs lead nowhere-a whitewashed wooden board that frames a once-used doorway is the only destination.

Gupta uses this image as a classic example of a “Thomasson,” a term coined by Japanese artist Genpei Akasegawa to denote a useless object that may be perceived as a conceptual artwork. Upward Mobility suggests an architectural leftover, a relic that has no purpose but is still maintained.

At the scale it is presented, the 50-foot banner is much larger than life but also strangely illusive. The work makes it difficult to ignore the ideals of the American Dream and questions its purpose and preservation.

This project is made possible with the support of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Public Art Building Communities Grant Program. Special thanks to the Capitol Skyline Hotel, Kimberly Mitchell, CDKM Consulting, and Hirshhorn ArtLab+.

Hothouse Video: Donna Conlon & Jonathan Harker and South Capitol Skyscape: Avi Gupta will be at Capitol Skyline Hotel located at 10 I (Eye) Street, SW.

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