Events June 5-7: Transit of Venus, Living Portraits, and Ai WeiWei

This week, watch the transit of Venus, take a “living portrait,” and explore the work of Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei

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Tuesday is the last chance of the century to see Venus pass between the sun and the earth. Feedloader (Clickability)

Tuesday, June 5 Transit of Venus

Don’t miss your last chance this century to see Venus pass between the sun and the earth. Since it’s not safe to stare directly into the sun, watch the transit through one of the Air and Space Museum‘s special solar telescopes. Inside the museum, experts Dr. David DeVorkin and Dr. Jim Zimbelman will guide curious visitors through this rare event. Free. 6:00 p.m. Air and Space Museum.

Wednesday, June 6 Living Portraits

Portraitist Alexa Meade, acclaimed for her “living paintings,” takes over the Kogod Courtyard to paint two live models into background sets. Enjoy specialty cocktails and take your own portraits against Meade’s painted scenes. Find Ann M. Shumard, curator of the exhibition In Vibrant Color: Vintage Celebrity Portraits from the Harry Warnecke Studio, to chat about both Warnecke’s and Meade’s boundary-breaking portraits. Free. 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. National Portrait Gallery.

Thursday, June 7 The Artist as Dissident: Ai WeiWei

Chinese artist Ai WeiWei, who currently has exhibitions at both the Hirshhorn Museum and the Sackler Gallery, is both a uniquely innovative artist and an outspoken political advocate who has tested the limits of freedom of expression in contemporary China. Despite frequent arrests, he continues to create and to send out his message of the interrelationship of art and politics. Join Michelle Wang, assistant professor of art history at Georgetown University, in an exploration of dominant themes in Ai’s work. $20 for members, $30 for general admission. 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. S. Dillon Ripley Center.

For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.