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Maya Freelon Asante

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

Pump Me Up: DC Subculture of the 1980s

Best of the City

Washington sails into 2013 boasting—and embracing—a bevy of bests. From beauty, health and style stars to arts, culture and dining headliners, here’s a peek at the scene.

Material Girl
Artist Maya Freelon Asante ( discovered a stack of water-stained colored paper in her grandmother’s basement in 2005, and her fascination with bleeding paper was born. The 30-year-old has since erected countless patchwork quilt-esque spectacles, including a stained-glass-like wonder called “Ubuntu” at the Corcoran and a three-story sculpture at the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar. Now, she’s collaborating on an evening-length theatrical production with her mother, six-time Grammy Award nominee Nnenna Freelon, and mother-in-law, Kariamu Welsh, called The Clothesline Muse and prepping a site-specific installation for the U.S. Embassy of Jamaica. “It’s a blessing to come from a family that’s so inspiring,” says Asante, the daughter of award-winning architect Philip Freelon and granddaughter of famed impressionist painter Allan Freelon.

Pictures Made Perfect
In a generation where photo editing is the norm, the National Gallery of Art’s ( latest exhibition suggests that artists have long been enticed by the notion of image alteration. Titled Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop, the February spectacular, which was previously on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, includes more than 200 photographs from the 1840s to 1980 that have been burned, double-exposed, combined or airbrushed to achieve a delightfully mind-boggling effect.

These Walls Talk
In homage to the District’s rich punk and go-go scene that peaked three decades ago, the Corcoran ( will mount the pioneering exhibition Pump Me Up: DC Subculture of the 1980s this February. Spanning street art, graffiti, posters, archival photographs, music, video loops and other elaborate ephemera, the show tells the story of the capital’s original, homegrown visual culture. Graffiti historian Roger Gastman, who co-produced the Oscar-nominated Banksy documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, lends his expertise and much of his personal collection to the affair.

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