- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2007

Edward Hopper is famous for his paintings of ordinary people in ordinary settings: the gas-station attendant at the pump, the flirtatious secretary in the office, the late-night diners gathered at the greasy spoon. Portraying these figures as solitary and disengaged, the American artist has come to be categorized as a chronicler of the anomie of modern urban life. That view, however, proves to be superficial as Edward Hopper, the newly opened exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, makes clear. This enlightening survey of 96 works concentrates on the artist’s fascination with the interaction between architecture and light. Pictures of New England lighthouses and saltboxes and Manhattan brownstones and apartment houses, mostly from the 1920s and early 1930s, reveal a Hopper more interested in space than people. His best-known paintings from the 1940s are grouped at the show’s end, after a short film narrated by actor Steve Martin on the artist’s life.

Deborah K. Dietsch

The Mary Pickford Theater at the Library of Congress combines boxing highlight films with Hollywood features about prizefighting in a series called “The Great Punch-Out.” Monday’s program, which begins at 7 p.m., revives newsreel coverage of the Jack Dempsey-Louis Firpo and Max Baer-Primo Carnera heavyweight title fights before a showing of The Harder They Fall, Mark Robson’s 1957 movie version of Budd Schulberg’s boxing novel. It became Humphrey Bogart’s last film and cast Max Baer as a facsimile of himself about 20 years earlier.

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. the feature is The Set-Up, Robert Wise’s hard-bitten minor classic of 1949. It stars Robert Ryan as a fading but tenacious boxer who spoils a mob fix. The bill also includes Stanley Kubrick’s apprentice short Day of the Fight, released two years later. A Wednesday program is devoted to Sugar Ray Robinson. The major bouts of Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali will be recalled in the Pickford repertory next weekend.

The Pickford is on the third floor of the James Madison Building. All shows are free, but seating is limited to 60. 101 Independence Ave. SE. 202/707-4604.

Gary Arnold

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