- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Native Modernism: The Art of George Morrison and Allan Houser is one of the best of the exhibitions at the new National Museum of the American Indian. Mr. Morrison and Mr. Houser, who worked from the mid-1930s to the late 1990s, combined European sculptural styles and American abstract expressionism with American Indian subjects to greatly influence their peoples’ future artists. At the National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue at Fourth Street SW, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Free with timed free passes at www.americanindian.si.edu, www.tickets.com and 866/400-6624 with a convenience charge. Same-day passes at the museum free of charge.

— Joanna Shaw-Eagle

After showcasing individual titles in recent seasons, the National Gallery of Art will devote a month to the movies of the great silent film director F.W. Murnau (1888-1931). The series begins this weekend in the auditorium of the East Building and includes all but two of the surviving Murnau features. Several early titles from his work in Germany from 1919-1926 have yet to resurface. Arranged in more or less reverse chronology, the tribute starts with Murnau’s Hollywood classics, Sunrise and Tabu, released in 1927 and 1931, respectively.

The former, which screens Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m., co-stars Janet Gaynor and George O’Brien as an estranged farm couple reconciled during an impulsive trip to the city. It remains one of the most imaginative and astonishing tear-jerkers ever made. “Tabu,” which screens Saturday at 3:30 p.m. only, began as a South Seas collaboration with Robert Flaherty. It also celebrates fugitive lovers, this time in a naturally exotic setting that Murnau manipulates as hypnotically as the backlot farmstead and cityscapes of “Sunrise.” Admission is free, but an early arrival is usually advisable. Constitution Avenue and Fourth Street NW. 202/842-6799.

— Gary Arnold

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