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The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the Smithsonian Institution's museum of modern and contemporary art.
The Hirshhorn is located on the National Mall at the corner of 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW in Washington DC.
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7 Minutes with Kota Ezawa
Hirshhorn assistant curator Melissa Ho speaks with Kota Ezawa before his Meet the Artist lecture on May 2, 2013.
We experienced technical difficulties with the audio while recording this episode of the Minutes Series, but the dialogue remains discernible. We apologize for any inconvenience.
29 Minutes with Christo
Early in his career, Christo created actual-size reinterpretations of commercial displays such as “Store Front,” included in the new Hirshhorn exhibition “Out of the Ordinary.” He and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, went on to develop public art projects that involve wrapping pieces of architecture in fabric or intervening in the landscape on a grand scale. In this evening’s lecture, Christo discusses two ongoing projects: “Over the River,” 5.9 miles of fabric panels to be temporarily suspended above 42 miles of the Arkansas River in Colorado, and “The Mastaba,” the largest sculpture in the world and the pair’s only permanent large-scale work, to be located near Abu Dhabi.
The Hirshhorn is pleased to announce the launch of its new mobile website. The intuitive, user-friendly design, developed in association with Homefront Communications, offers quick and easy access to essential information about the Museum’s current and upcoming exhibitions, collection works on view (including a slide show of not-to-be-missed highlights for visitors with limited time), upcoming free public programs, and museum location and hours.
The Hirshhorn encourages you to visit the mobile site at www.hirshhorn.si.edu and add the bookmark to your smartphone’s home screen.
Discover the 3-D imaging methods used to help preserve Bruce Nauman’s “From Hand to Mouth.”
Bruce Nauman’s “From Hand to Mouth” is a relief sculpture designed to be hung on a wall. The sculpture is cast in a synthetic hydrocarbon wax and supported from the reverse by a layer of woven jute fabric strips.
Wax is a vulnerable material that is easily deformed, especially at elevated temperatures. As such, “From Hand to Mouth” is an inherently fragile artwork. To prevent sagging of the wax due to the pull of gravity, Hirshhorn conservators fabricated a removable support bracket that attaches to the back of the sculpture. To minimize the risk of damage during transport, the artwork is rarely allowed to travel to outside exhibitions.
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Browse through the Hirshhorn’s selection of lectures and talks including Friday Gallery Talks, Meet the Artists, and Exhibition Walk-throughs.
Over, Under, Next: Experiments In Mixed Media, 1913–Present
April 18 to September 8, 2013
Butterfly wings, glass shards, doll parts, crumpled automotive metal, jigsaw puzzle pieces, clothing, straight pins, furniture, and colored sand–these are just some of the materials in Over, Under, Next, an exhibition of approximately 100 examples of collage and assemblage, primarily drawn from the Hirshhorn’s collection. Before 1913, when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque first incorporated commonplace, mass-produced images and found objects into their art, everyday materials were regarded as bric-a-brac. Since then, artists internationally have embraced the idea that art could scavenged from fragments and detritus in the world around us.
Over, Under, Next explores the ways that collage and assemblage have evolved over the last century, from Joseph Stella’s (American, 1877–1946) tiny photomechanical reproduction and cut paper composition to Ann Hamilton’s (American, b. 1956) palimpsest, 1989, a room-sized installation featuring thousands of fluttering pieces of newsprint, beeswax tablets, and snails, among other things. Also featured in the show is the groundbreaking film Report, 1967, a deliberation on violence and modern mass media that showcases Bruce Conner’s (American, 1933–2008) pioneering montage technique by weaving together film and audio documentation of the John F. Kennedy assassination with other found footage. Together, these works demonstrate how almost in every major art movement of the last century, from Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism to Abstract Expressionism Pop Art, Post-Modernism, and beyond, artists have made use of unorthodox and unexpected materials to challenge conventional definitions of art.
Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance
May 16 to October 27, 2013
Music, art history, and African-American culture intermingle in the art of Jennie C. Jones (American, b. 1968, Cincinnati, Ohio; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York), who creates audio collages, paintings, sculptures, and works on paper that explore the formal and conceptual junctures between modernist abstraction and black avant-garde music, particularly jazz. Repurposing what she terms “the physical residue of music”—the devices and packaging that structure listening, such as headphones, audiotape, and cassette cases—Jones has produced readymade sculptures that reflect upon the passage from analog to digital while also highlighting an abstract vocabulary that links these functional objects to modern art ranging from Russian Constructivism to Minimalism. She also has created innovative sound works that recompose historical recordings by black composers and performers through microsampling, a digital editing methodology that extracts individual notes and short phrases and then recombines them using looping, stretching, and repetition, as well as the addition of silent expanses. The resulting audio collages encourage us to imagine a more subtle and complicated relationship between the dominant and African-American modernisms.
Higher Resonance is an immersive installation that reflects the extension of Jones’s practice to include acoustics and architecture. Riffing on the Hirshhorn’s iconic round structure, Higher Resonance features an acoustic intervention that takes the form of a listening area shaped by a new offset wall mirroring the curve of the existing gallery space. Carefully interspersed along the walls will be Jones’s Acoustic Paintings, rectangular monochromatic panels constructed from industrial soundproofing materials. These Acoustic Paintings, even as they visually reference the graphic forms of both musical notation and Minimalist art, challenge a key painting precept by shaping the sound to envelop the listener. The project’s sound component will explore the myriad cultural connotations of abstraction’s transcendence through samples of African-American avant-garde music from the 1970s to the present, including the work of composers and performers such as Olly Wilson, Alvin Singleton, Wendell Logan, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Alice Coltrane.
Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950
October 24, 2013 to February 9, 2014
Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950 is the first in-depth exploration of the theme of destruction in international contemporary visual culture. In all areas of art production since the mid-twentieth century, the notion of destruction has played an important role, whether as spectacle, as catharsis, as a reaction to world-weariness, as a means of depersonalizing emotional or cultural angst, as a form of rebellion against institutions, or as an essential component of re-creation. This ground-breaking exhibition includes works by a diverse range of international artists working in painting, sculpture, photography, film, installation, and performance. It begins in the aftermath of World War II, under the looming fear of total annihilation in the atomic age, and explores the continuing use that artists have made of destruction as part of the creative process—sometimes sinister, sometimes playful, often iconoclastic, and always challenging. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue containing essays by the exhibition curators as well as scholars from a variety of disciplines in order to investigate this rich and complex subject from a range of perspectives, including art historical, historical, cultural, and psychological points of view.
August 20, 2012 to December 2014
Part of an initiative to bring art to new sites within and around the building, this installation by Barbara Kruger will fill the Lower Level lobby and extend into the newly relocated Museum bookstore. Famous for her incisive photomontages, Kruger has focused increasingly over the past two decades on creating environments that surround the viewer with language. The entire space—walls, floor, escalator sides—will be wrapped in text-printed vinyl, immersing visitors in a spectacular hall of voices, where words either crafted by the artist or borrowed from the popular lexicon address conflicting perceptions of democracy, power, and belief.
At a moment when ideological certitude and purity seem especially valued, Kruger says she’s “interested in introducing doubt.” Large areas of the installation are devoted to open-ended questions (“WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW? WHO IS FREE TO CHOOSE? WHO SPEAKS? WHO IS SILENT?”), while the section occupying the bookstore explores themes of desire and consumption. At once addressing the individual, the museum, and, symbolically, the country, Kruger’s penetrating examination of the public sphere will transform one of the Hirshhorn’s key public spaces.
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ARTLAB+ programs give technology and artist mentorship to teens ages 13-19 who want to socialize, experiment with media, and sharpen their critical thinking and digital literacy. Teens choose their own activities and projects to produce with professional video and photo gear, music and recording equipment, video games and graphic design resources. Inspired by the collection and temporary exhibitions, a staff of artist mentors serve school groups during the day and drop-in teens after school and on weekends. Teens have the opportunities to create clubs, plan events, join production teams and learn in workshops. Weekend and weeklong workshops are held year-round to accommodate a wide variety of schedules. We welcome all teens, regardless of experience.
The ARTLAB+ space is funded, as a member of the YOUmedia Network, by the MacArthur Foundation. ARTLAB+ programs are funded by the Pearson Foundation, in partnership with the New Learning Institute, along with funds from the Knight Foundation, Vivian and Elliot I. Pollock and internal Smithsonian Institution funds from the Youth Access Grant.
The Hirshhorn hosted several Mobile Learning workshops in the summer of 2010 and is featured in a PBS documentary called “Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century.”
Check out this feature on our ARTLAB+Game Design workshop.
Don’t forget to visit the Sculpture Garden located on the side facing the National Mall, across Jefferson Drive. You’ll encounter the work of some of the best-known artists of our time, including Rodin, Ono, Calder, and more. The cool green spaces and geometric reflecting pool offer an atmosphere of contemplation and retreat.
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Mar 4October 29, 2012 to May 19, 2013
DEMOCRACIA, a Madrid-based artist collective formed by Pablo España and Iván López (both Spanish, b. Madrid, 1970), is known for socio-political work that includes performance, public engagement actions, printed books and circulars, and video installations.
For Ser y Durar [To Be and To Last], the artists collaborated with a team of local traceurs (practitioners of the street sportparkour). This sport originated in Paris in the 1980s and quickly spread to become a global urban subculture phenomenon. The term comes from the French for “course,” and the movements derive from military drills designed to train soldiers to navigate over and around architectural barriers. The uniforms of the ghostlike acrobats in the film are emblazoned with emblems that the artists note are designed “to refer to the working class, internationalism, anarchy, secret societies, and revolution.”
The film was shot in the Almudena civil cemetery, which was built in Madrid in the 1880s for those who were forbidden internment in Catholic burial grounds. Buried here are prominent political progressives, intellectuals, founders of the country’s democratic society in the pre-Franco era, Socialists, Communists, atheists, Jews, and others. The motto of traceurs, “never stop and never give up,” is echoed by the continuous camera movement, which pauses only briefly on various headstones. Inscriptions such as “Love, freedom, and Socialism;” “Freedom and reason will make you stronger;” “After death there is nothing;” and “To be and to last” connect those resting in peace to the bodies in motion.
Sponsored in part by the Spanish Embassy
Please click here for a full listing of the Hirshhorn’s upcoming programs.
February 4 to May 19, 2013
Drawn from the Hirshhorn’s collection, this exhibition brings together works that use the processes of copying, faking, and duplicating as strategies of artistic invention. The artists do not aim to create an original; rather they follow in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp, who famously designated ordinary mass-produced objects as “Readymade” works of art, and Jasper Johns, who, in the late 1950s, chose to paint images “the mind already knows,” such as targets and the American flag. The artists in this exhibition similarly adopt commonplace items and established images as their points of departure. The results are both recognizable and strange, existing somewhere between realism and fantasy.
Sculptures such as Robert Gober’s oversized stick of butter and Christo’s sealed-off storefront present mundane objects transformed in ways that make them mysterious and evocative. Others are invented forms, such as Richard Artschwager’s abstract Formica relief, which alludes to the scale and material of everyday furniture but is decidedly non-utilitarian. Many of the pictorial works in the exhibition reference photographic images rather than direct reality, thereby drawing attention to a multilayered process of representation. Vija Celmins’s carefully rendered graphite drawing,Untitled (Double Moon Surface), for example, is a picture of a picture, not a picture of the moon.
There is something real and yet not real about these various works that compel the viewer to look more closely. By rendering the familiar strange, they reveal the unspoken meanings of ordinary things.