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Get Out: ‘Ai Weiwei: According to What?’

- - Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pick of the Pack

Exhibit: 'Ai Weiwei: According to What?'

Ai Weiwei, China's most famous artist and dissident, was scheduled to be in Washington for the Oct. 7 opening of the first North American survey of his work at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden. Unfortunately, it's unlikely he will make the trip since, as of this writing, Chinese authorities are still holding his passport following his 2011 arrest and 81-day detention. His alleged crime is tax evasion — though his real "crime" is outspoken criticism of the Chinese government, criticism that is reflected in much of his art. The Hirshhorn has devoted an entire floor (and then some) to his work, including sculpture, photography, installations, and audio and video exhibits, a number of which focus on the estimated 68,000 victims of the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake. "According to What?" is accompanied by "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads," an installation of 12 Chinese Zodiac sculptures in the museum's plaza. The exhibit would be noteworthy for creative imagination and invention alone — this is the artist known for "Sunflower Seeds," the 2010 exhibit of 100 million porcelain seeds hand-painted by Chinese artisans, as well as his collaboration on the 2008 Olympic stadium in Beijing — but given the political implications, it's not to be missed.

Through Feb. 24 at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, 700 Independence Ave. SW.

Phone: 202/633-1000.

Web: hirshhorn.si.edu.

Equestrian Event: Morven Park Fall Horse Trials

If you didn't make it to the equestrian events at the Olympics in London, well, you didn't miss much. Team USA unfortunately didn't win any equestrian medals, though Karen O'Connor, a resident of The Plains, Va., placed ninth of 25 in individual eventing. (The U.S. placed seventh in team eventing, which was dominated by Europeans.) Nonetheless, eventing — a "horse triathlon" featuring dressage, show jumping and cross-country jumping — is exciting whether or not you wear riding boots. This weekend, the Morven Park Equestrian Center will host the Fall Horse Trials, with four U.S. Olympians, including Ms. O'Connor, scheduled to participate. The grounds, which include the mansion of former governor of Virginia Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) and more than 1,000 acres of gardens and lawns, are sure to provide a picturesque autumnal setting.

Oct. 5 through 7 at Morven Park Equestrian Center, 41793 Tutt Lane, Leesburg, Va.

Phone: 703/777-2890.

Web: morvenpark.org.

Food: Taste of D.C.

If you work in downtown Washington, you've seen the food trucks that park in busy spots like Farragut Square during lunch time — and perhaps heard about the feuds between the trucks and the nearby brick-and-mortar restaurants over regulations that could make it difficult for the former to compete. This weekend, the restaurants and food trucks have put it all behind them for Taste of D.C., a three-day street festival featuring more than 50 D.C. eateries, both on and off wheels. The options run from A to Z — or from American Ice Co., the V Street Northwest barbecue joint by D.C.'s restaurant and nightlife duo Eric and Ian Hilton, to the Uptown Tap House, a casual contemporary American restaurant and raw bar that opened last month in Cleveland Park. And you don't want to skip those food trucks, especially Pepe, featuring Spanish-inspired sandwiches by reigning tapas king Jose Andres (Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel, Minibar). Between bites, enjoy live music, family activities and the Stella Artois Beer Pavilion featuring more than 30 local, national and international beers.

Oct. 6 through 8 at Pennsylvania Ave. NW between Ninth & 14th streets Northwest.

Phone: 202/618-FOOD.

Web: thetasteofdc.org/.

Culture: Library of Congress Main Reading Room Open House

On Oct. 8, we honor Christopher Columbus, who, as schoolchildren learn, got lost while sailing from Spain to India and came upon the New World. This Columbus Day, the Library of Congress invites you to get lost in a book and explore the nation's oldest federal cultural institution. Typically reserved for research purposes, the soaring Main Reading Room will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for demonstrations of the library's resources and readings for children. The Jefferson Building, including the Young Reader's Center and the exhibitions, also will be open until 4:30 p.m. Children of all ages will enjoy the vast collection of children's literature, while history buffs will want to visit the "Exploring the Early Americas" exhibit featuring rare maps, documents, artwork and artifacts from 500 years ago.

Monday at the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE.

Phone: 202/707-5000.

Web: loc.gov.

Exhibit: Fashioning the New Woman, 1890-1925

Turn-of-the-century fashion is enjoying a moment, due in part to the popularity of "Downton Abbey," the British public television period drama about the lives of a wealthy family and their servants in the early 1900s. The show is an unexpected hit — and so, too, is the era's fashion, with midi hemlines and drop waists, rich brocades and velvets, and even cloche hats and evening gloves all over the Fall 2012 runways. Ralph Lauren even showed British tweeds and flapper-style beading set to the show's soundtrack. Catching up with the trend, the Daughters of the American Revolution is showing a collection of real fashion from the era, from the last of the Victorian bustle to the rising hemlines of the suffragettes. Visitors likely will be surprised at the timelessness of these silhouettes, which were fresh then but remain in fashion today.

Through Aug. 31, 2013, at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, 1776 D St. NW.

Phone: 202/628-1776.

Web: dar.org.