Washington Portraits – and a correction about my take on museum

  • Gene Davis, Self-portrait, 1982, oil on canvas, 90 x 110 inches, Xavier Equihua collection.When I heard that the National Portrait Gallery was organizing an exhibition drawn from private collections in the Washington area, I figured it would be a good one to miss. These sorts of community-based shows tend to be mediocre affairs. Institutions mount them in part to reach out to new patrons, and curators — against their better judgment — can be obliged to lower standards to comply with the exigencies of politics and fundraising.

    But when I saw “Capital Portraits: Treasures from Washington Private Collections,” I realized that I had been dead wrong. It’s hardly an ingenious or groundbreaking curatorial conceit, but it’s a wonderful show on many levels.

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    March 19