Washington has been a city devoted to public art ever since the days of L'Enfant, with dozens of inspirational statues in the centers of our famous circles and squares. Now, to bring outdoor artwork into 2012: the 5x5 Project. What is it, you ask? Well, five globally renowned contemporary art curators have descended on D.C., each bringing five artists or art collectives to create 25 site-specific temporary works all across the city.
Works will include a temporary Habitat for Artists studio; a "Love Motel for Insects" at the National Zoo, using ultraviolet light to attract nocturnal flying insects and create giant, living dragonfly wings; and a Berlin collective's "Temperance Fountain," paying homage to D.C.'s straight-edge punk legacy. Malaysian artist Tattfoo Tan has even created a large-scale labyrinth visitors can explore along the riverfront at Yards Park, using the location's native wild plants to get you thinking about the relationship of the built environment and the natural world. Some installations, like the fountain, will move around and can be tracked on the 5x5 website — or you can catch them all in one place at the Lumen8 Anacostia event on April 14, which will feature lots of art, music, and other fun (in a former police evidence warehouse, no less).
Sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the projects are meant to bring beauty and creativity to unexpected places, and promote Washington as a creative capitol. Unlike some other monuments, though, these pieces are not built to last — be sure to check them out before the end of April, when the project wraps up.
Photo: Courtesy of Vincent Gallegos