Washington to celebrate its color-field art movement

WASHINGTON - The extraordinary art from the color-field movement and Washington Color School will be celebrated this spring in "ColorField Remix," at several museums and galleries.

In addition to important exhibitions, students from the Corcoran College of Art and Design will paint Eighth Street NW with stripes, in tribute to Gene Davis, a native Washington artist who was known for saturated colors and striped patterns.

In 1965, a show called "Washington Color Painters" solidified Washington's place in the national movement and defined what is considered the city's signature art movement.

The abstract color-field painting explored use of large, solid areas of paint.

Mark Rothko's work is an example. Washington Color School included painters in and around the city such as Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Thomas Downing and Davis.

Davis' work will be on display at a solo show at Kreeger Museum that will bring together 60 paintings. This is the second time the artist has been honored with Davis-like stripes on Eighth Street; it was also painted in 1987.

The Phillips Collection will fill several galleries with 20 works to show how Helen Frankenthaler, Louis, Noland, Downing, Alma Thomas and Sam Gilliam used the abstract style with energetic colors and bold designs.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will focus on Louis, a Washington-based artist who placed his joyous colors on unprimed canvases.

Hemphill Fine Arts will concentrate on Leon Berkowitz, the Philadelphia-born artist who specialized in washes of bright colors.

His works will be juxtaposed with new works by Jason Buggiotti, a recent Corcoran graduate.

Alberto Gaitan, a media artist, will take data from sensors around a local art gallery.

The data will be converted to computer commands sent to three robotic arms that will produce a sound and video installation called "Remembrancer," creating a color-field work.

That will take place over a month at the Curator's Office on 14th Street NW.

"ColorField Remix" will include public art projects, exhibitions and lectures. It will start in April and continue through July.