- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The National Museum of African Arts’ Textures — Word & Symbol in Contemporary Art is an unusual melding of words and images. These works by contemporary African artists tell histories with words and pictorial symbols. The museum wants visitors to decipher the visuals for an unusual viewing experience. Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Ave. SW, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., free. Through Sunday. 202/633-4600.

—Joanna Shaw-Eagle

The National Gallery of Art has scheduled a centennial program devoted to the remarkable, short-lived French filmmaker Jean Vigo, who died in 1934 at age 29. He completed four movies, but only one of them, L’Atalante, which depicts the voyage of a young barge captain and his bride, is a full-length dramatic feature. Nevertheless, his expressive aptitude for the medium has remained a treasured aspect of French film history. Scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the auditorium of the East Building, the gallery’s program consists of L’Atalante and the shorts A propos de Nice and La Natation par Jean Taris, champion de France. All the Vigo movies, including his famous featurette about unruly schoolboys, Zero for Conduct, were photographed by the Polish-born Boris Kaufman, who migrated from France to the United States in the early 1940s and became a favorite cameraman of Elia Kazan and Sidney Lumet.

The National Gallery also commences a September series called Dutch Visions, showcasing the features of two documentary filmmakers, Jos de Putter and Peter Delpeut, who became prominent in the 1990s. The first two programs illustrate Mr. de Putter’s work. It’s Been a Lovely Day — 2 p.m. Sunday in the East Building — summarizes the final year of operation of a family farm. Brooklyn Stories — at 2:30 p.m. Monday — collects the impressions of vintage Brooklyn Dodgers baseball fans. All National Gallery programs are free, but an early arrival is often advisable. Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202/ 842- 6799.

— Gary Arnold

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