The Coolest New Exhibits to Check Out in DC Before They Disappear

Of course, millions of tourists flock to DC every year, not only for its pearly white historic monuments, but also to enjoy its world-renowned (and free!) Smithsonian museum exhibitions. Plus, once you know to the District a bit more, you discover other art galleries, interactive sculptures, and block-long murals that make Washington DC an art lovers’ paradise. But, inevitably, exhibits close and shows move on to the next city, so make sure to get to these museums while you still can.

Lucid Motion

On view through December 1, 2019 at Artechouse
Using next level technologies, the three unique installations by Japanese artist collective Daito Manabe x Rhizomatics Research are a mesmerizing look at human motion via innovative technology. 
Cost: Tickets from $13

The Eye of the Sun: Nineteenth-Century Photographs

On view through December 1, 2019 at the National Gallery of Art
Interested in the evolution of photography? This exhibit of about 140 images shows photos from the first 50 years of photography -- spanning portraits, landscapes, and much more. Some “daguerreotype” photos are also on display, aka an early photographic process from the early 1800s that produced extremely vivid, detailed images.
Cost: Free

ICE! featuring Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

On view select dates through December 30, 2019 at Gaylord National Resort & Conventional Center
A winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 blocks of ice hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans and kept at a chilling 9 degrees, these stunning sculptures and interactive art pieces are a must-see destination at the National Harbor. This year’s exhibit focuses on none other than the Grinch and the citizens of Whoville through interactive ice sculptures and displays. 
Cost: Tickets from $25

Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

On view through December 31, 2019 at the Newseum
There are many things we’re going to deeply miss when the Newseum permanently closes its doors at the end of 2019. From viewing Pulitzer Prize-winning photos to seeing artifacts from some of the biggest news stories in American history up close, the journalism museum never disappoints. This year, its "Rise Up" exhibit explores the modern gay rights movement through artifacts, print publications, and key moments that changed laws and smashed stereotypes.
Cost: $24.95, but tons of available discounts

Live Dangerously

On view through January 20, 2020 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts
This intensely beautiful exhibition features images from 12 photographers, all detailing women integrated into natural landscapes. It is dramatic, dreamy, and extremely cool. 
Cost: Tickets are $10, but look for community days when visits are free

Reforestation of the Imagination

On view through January 5, 2020 at Renwick Gallery
A combination of glass sculpture and Augmented Reality, this unique interactive exhibit features a series of six different islands with glass depictions of nature, which take on a different perspective when seen through the AR lens. The bleak landscape of the physical installation turns into a vibrant and colorful environment with the technology. 
Cost: Free

Lee Ufan: Open Dimension

On view through September 13, 2020 at The Hirshhorn
This expansive outdoor installation is celebrated Korean artist Lee Ufan’s largest project in the US. His 10 sculptures feature contrasting materials and careful arrangement with a goal of unfolding the art in time as space as the visitor encounters them. 
Cost: Free

Pat Steir: Color Wheel

On view through September 7, 2020 at The Hirshhorn
Showcased in the museum’s second floor this is the largest painting installation to date by the abstract artist Pat Steir. The color wheel will span 30 different pieces and visitors can explore the spectrum across the gallery. This definitely sounds like an intriguing piece of art!
Cost: Free

Recent Acquisitions 

On view through August 2020 at the National Portrait Gallery
Needless to say, there are a lot of faces to be seen at the National Portrait Gallery -- more than 23,000 in all. And this Smithsonian museum is adding to its collection all the time. This fall, new subjects will include actors Morgan Freeman, Audrey Hepburn, and Andy Garcia, composer Philip Glass, and civil rights activist and journalist Ruben Salazar. 
Cost: Free

Hokusai: Mad About Painting

On view through November 2020 at the Freer-Sackler Gallery
While Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai is mainly known for his unforgettable and iconic “Great Wave Off the Coast of Kanagawa,” he composed thousands of pieces over his nearly 90-year life. This exhibit showcases a wide range of Hokusai’s works including manga -- his often humorous renderings of everyday Japanese life. 
Cost: Free

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Aparna Krishnamoorthy is a freelance food and travel writer based in Washington DC. You can generally find her obsessing over the next meal or planning the next getaway. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more dining and wanderlust adventures.