Underwritten by TTR Sotheby's International Realty, The Athenaeum Invitational celebrates the visual arts of Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and West Virginia in the Athenaeum Gallery in Alexandria, VA. It is a theme-based event featuring the works of both specially-invited artists who have exhibited in the Athenaeum Gallery in the past, as well as works selected through a call for submissions open to anyone living or working in Virginia, the District of Columbia, or Maryland. A $1,500 prize for the best work will be awarded to an invited artist, and a $1,000 prize will be awarded to an artist from the open call.
Cabinets of curiosities, first popular in Renaissance Europe, were broad collections of objects of nature, science, archaeology, religious relics, the arts, and the bizarre. Before public museums were common, these privately-owned cabinets were seen as status symbols and said something about the collector and their ability to collect the contents. They were usually displayed in elaborate structures made of exotic materials, featuring specially constructed drawers and compartments to house wonderous specimens. In some instances the comprehensiveness of the collection was noteworthy, sometimes the diversity was celebrated, and sometimes the cabinet itself was as amazing as what was contained within.
This exhibition asks artists who live or work in Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia to explore any aspect of Cabinets of Curiosities. Interpretations may be two or three dimensional and literal or abstract. Works will be chosen that show aesthetic excellence, mastery of media, creativity, and relevance to the theme.
Exhibition runs from September 13, 2018 through November 11, 2018.
Gallery hours are Thursday, Friday, Sunday: 12-4 pm and Saturday: 1-4 pm.