If there’s one person who speaks to DC’s artistic past and future, it’s Sam Gilliam. An artist affiliated with the Washington Color School—the cerebral mode of stain painting that this city was known for in the 1960s and ’70s—Gilliam has mounted major international museum exhibits around the world. This summer, he is exhibiting his work in the prestigious Venice Biennale (where he has shown previously). Many Things (2003) is an atypical work, as many of his best-known canvases
hang loosely like drapes. This one instead appears to have many frames: It’s a complex cross-layered jumble of shapes and forms, evoking free jazz and tongues of flame. This painting might remind viewers of late Frank Stella or Elizabeth Murray, artists who took great liberties with the notion of frame and canvas. But it may also simply strike viewers as an elegant riff on harmony and dynamism. Located at the Metro entrance, Street Level, on the M Street side of the building.