Art After Dark: A recap

Editorial credit: Caroline Coppel

Museums are not known for their nightlife, but the Art Museum of the Americas can most definitely throw a party. Their second annual Art After Dark event entertained nearly 1,000 people Thursday evening with live music, free-flowing booze and, of course, artwork.

While there weren’t as many installations as you would expect an art party to have, the artists on display were clearly talented. Each had a distinctive style, although some mediums overlapped (the night was heavy on film).  Carlos Florez’s short film series greeted guests at the door; they were projected onto the wall above the main staircase. Wilmer Wilson raided a cafeteria and showed us what he could do with white plastic forks and knives. His two pieces, held together by black electrical tape, arranged the utensils along opposite walls. The knives made a rough triangle, the forks, a more abstract shape similar to a wave.  Billy Friebble’s piece projected a map of a city (presumably D.C.) onto the floor of a darkened room. The map was overlaid with colorful, moving lines that traced the city streets. The line’s random pattern prompted one bystander to remark,  “These lines remind me of how I drive.”

The heart of the event was the AMA’s beautiful back garden.  When people weren’t helping themselves to beer, wine and champagne at the three open bars, they were chatting, watching yet another short film projected onto the side of a building, or listening to musical guests Matthew Hemerlein and Screen Vinyl Image. (DJ Smudge played indoors.) Hemerlein played two sets in darkness, which fit well with his breathy vocals and delicate, ethereal songs.  Screen Vinyl Image’s synth-heavy electronic sound (think The xx blended with house music) brought a slightly edgier element to the event; the group played some tracks off its newest album.

Guests could also enter a raffle for an iPad, and their ticket allowed them entrance to an afterparty at Georgetown’s L2.  Proceeds went to the AMA’s programs, exhibits and events. All this for $25? Sign me up for next year.

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