- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2003

Though Marsden Hartley stunned the American art world with his Berlin “War Motif” paintings in the 1920s, he is best remembered for his later, powerful images of his home state of Maine. Recognized as the greatest of the early American modernists pushed by art promoter Alfred Stieglitz and collected by Duncan Phillips, Hartley is now being honored with his first retrospective in 20 years at the Phillips Collection. Marsden Hartley opens Saturday and surveys the stylistic and thematic range of the artist’s major periods: the symbolic, abstract “War Motif” series painted in Berlin during 1914 to 1915; his “Provincetown” works of 1916; the New Mexico and Mexico paintings of 1918 and 1932; landscapes painted in France from 1921 to 1929; and the quintessentially American works done in his native Maine from 1937 until his death in 1943. At the Phillips, 1600 21st Street, NW. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, until 8:30 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, through Sept. 7. $8 adults, $6 seniors and students, free for Phillips members and children under 18. For information call 202/387-2151. For advance tickets, call TicketMaster at 202/551-SEAT.

Joanna Shaw-Eagle

A documentary about child spelling champions sounds about as dramatic as waiting all day for the cable repair truck to arrive. But Spellbound supplies plenty of white-knuckle tension — and that’s just one of the delicious surprises this documentary delivers. Nominated for best documentary feature at the 2002 Academy Awards, “Spellbound” tracks eight wunderkinder as they descend upon the nation’s capital for the 1999 National Spelling Bee. The youngsters represent the American dream, both in their unshakeable faith in education and in their competitive mien. By zooming in on a contestant’s face as he or she wrestles over the proper spelling of another $10 word, “Spellbound” manufactures as much drama as “The Matrix Reloaded,” and with far less hoopla.

Christian Toto

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