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Medium: Fictional art movement

Year: 2007

By Meg Mitchell and Jeffry Cudlin

In the Spring of 2007, Washington, D.C. museums and galleries celebrated the Washington Color School, a group of abstract painters who, in the early 1960s, briefly made D.C. the center of the visual arts universe. Artists Jeffry Cudlin and Meg Mitchell didn’t play along. Instead, the two staged an art historical intervention, weaving an alternative history for Washington art.

Cudlin and Mitchell mounted a retrospective for their alter egos, Ian and Jan—a fictitious husband-and-wife performance art duo. According to the exhibition’s premise, Ian and Jan led the Washington Body School , a group that, in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, exhibited their body art alongside the work of prominent Washington abstract painters.

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