A timeline of events documenting the history of the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Created by khoffman5 on Aug 28, 2008
Last updated: 04/26/11 at 06:25 PM
The Hirshhorn has initiated the first comprehensive retrospective of Argentinean artist Guillermo Kuitca to travel in the United States in 15 years. The exhibition is co-organized with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Miami Art Museum. Examining over two decades of the artist’s painting and including approximately 45 canvases and 20 works on paper made between 1980 and 2008, “Guillermo Kuitca: Everything” opens in Miami in October 2009 and travels to the Albright-Knox in February 2010. The exhibition is organized by Albright-Knox senior curator Doug Dreishpoon. Anne Ellegood is the coordinating curator for the Hirshhorn.
Guillermo Kuitca: Everything is organized by the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Miami Art Museum. Major funding is provided by the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation, AXA Group, and the Leadership and Honorary Patrons Committees for the exhibition, with additional catalogue support from Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.
A new Hirshhorn blog...stay tuned!..
"Yves Klein" examines the artist’s life and work from the mid-1950's to his untimely death in 1962. An artist, composer, judo master, Rosicrucian, proto-conceptualist and performance artist, Klein was a multi-faceted talent who believed in the transformative power of art. In his series, including the “Monochromes,” “Anthropometries,” "Cosmogonies," "Air Architecture," "Fire Paintings," "Sponge Reliefs" and “Actions” Klein sought to place the immaterial at the heart of his work. This is the first American retrospective in nearly 30 years of this highly influential French artist’s career. The exhibition is co-organized by the Hirshhorn and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The exhibition is co-curated by Hirshhorn deputy director and chief curator Kerry Brougher and Philippe Vergne, Director, Dia Art Foundation.
Lance Esplund of The Wall Street Journal reviews "Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection," and calls the installation at the Hirshhorn an "elegant gathering of more than 85 sculptures, paintings and drawings." Read the entire article here..
Check out this great article about the Anne Truitt show in the Washington Post:>link goes here
The first major exhibition of Truitt’s work since 1974, "Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection" is a survey of two- and three-dimensional works made during the artist’s 40-year career. A variety of large-scale sculptures will be on view, including formative pieces from the early 1960's that suggest the architectural environment of the artist's childhood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The retrospective also presents the column sculptures that became the hallmark of Truitt's profoundly focused practice. Acting as a painter as well as a sculptor, the artist wrapped color around the corners of these sculptures, creating visually poetic relationships between structure and surface. Throughout her work, she investigated proportion, scale and color, as well as perception and memory. After leaving the field of clinical psychology in the mid-1940's, Truitt began making figurative sculptures, but turned toward reduced geometric forms after seeing works by Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt in 1961. Despite affinities to the paintings of the Color Field artists often associated with Washington, D.C., and the sculpture of artists who came to be known as Minimalists, from the outset Truitt’s art was an independent exploration of abstraction and personal references. Truitt was born in Baltimore, MD, but lived in Washington for most of her adult life and has been largely under-recognized for her contribution to post-1960 art. The exhibition is organized by associate curator Kristen Hileman and will be accompanied by the first complete monograph on the artist.
During summer 2009, as you walk by the entrace to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station at H Street, look up. Three massive high-resolution LED screens debut new work by graphic artist David Polonsky (b.1973, Kiev, USSR) just up 7th Street from the Hirshhorn. The project was developed in collaboration with Orange Barrel Media, an Ohio-based, cutting-edge firm specializing in digital communications. "We are thrilled to partner with the Hirshhorn to bring artwork beyond their gallery walls and to this public space," said Pete Scantland of Orange Barrel Media. "We look forward to sharing this work with the public and believe this will be an incredible asset to the Gallery Place community."
Duck and cover during the Hirshhorn’s annual SUMMER CAMP film series when the original beastie boy, Godzilla, returns! Experience this selective “career survey” of the large lizard with back story insights from film scholar David Wilt. Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. All films are free. Visitors requesting accessibility services such as a sign-language interpretation, open captioning and visual description tours may contact Kristy Maruca at Interpretive Programs at 202-633-2796 or MarucaK@si.edu.
Thursday, June 11, 7 p.m.
“Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah” (1991)
The arrival of a UFO corresponds with the awakening of you-know-who in his oceanic lair. He’s evolved from Godzillasaurus and revitalized by nuclear power that he sucked out of a 1970s Soviet sub. Don’t ask how the winged, three-headed Elvis fits into the story. Skewed time travel, odd national politics, and plot hiccups may be a tad confusing, but the extreme monster-on-monster action is well worth it!
Thursday, June 18, 7 p.m.
“Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster” (1966)
Ryota’s search for his lost-at-sea brother lands him washed up on a dangerous island inhabited by a giant crustacean, Ebriah, and a suspicious organization, the Red Bamboo. He enlists the help of Godzilla, who is sleeping off the traumatic battles with King Ghidorah, by awakening him with a lightning rod. Can the sea monster be dashed into subordinate claws? Can ‘Zilla lick the ‘Boo and make the giant lobster roll?
Thursday, June 25, 7 p.m.
“Godzilla 2000” (1999)
The Gangsta Lizard takes on the Godzilla Prediction Network and the Crisis Control Intelligence agency, neither of which, despite over fifty years of attacks, have noted that standard artillery is useless. A new adversary joins the action when, inadvertently CCI awakens a long-dormant UFO. You may be able to guess who wins out, but you will never guess why in this dubbed masterpiece.
Richard Koshalek has been named director of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, effective April 13. Koshalek, 67, was president of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., from 1999 until January 2009. Before that, he served as director of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years. At both institutions, he was noted for his commitment to new artistic initiatives, including commissioned works, scholarly exhibitions and publications and the building of new facilities that garnered architectural acclaim. He worked with architect Frank Gehry on the design and construction of MOCA's Geffen Contemporary (1983), a renovated warehouse popularly known as the Temporary Contemporary. He also worked with the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki on the museum's permanent home in Los Angeles (1986). "Richard Koshalek has vast experience in both the education and museum worlds," said Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. "His creativity brought modern and contemporary art to bear on issues of the day and will help the museum and the Institution reach broad audiences in technologically and aesthetically exciting new ways."
The Hirshhorn presents a major survey of the works of Louise Bourgeois, the French-born artist who emigrated to the United States in 1938. Inspired by ideas and styles from diverse avant-garde art movements in Europe and America—notably Surrealism, primitivism, psychoanalysis, conceptualism and feminism—Bourgeois forged a highly personal amalgam of images and materials. Personal memories play a central role in her works, yet the sculptures themselves fascinate viewers who bring their own emotional associations.
Ori Gersht (b. 1967, Tel Aviv) currently lives and works in London. He is noted for his series of large-scale photographs and arresting moving-image pieces. The artist’s work encourages viewers to reflect on the power of natural beauty and how it is affected by human intervention. In “The Forest” (2006) the camera pans a lush, primeval forest. Sound alternates with silence and suddenly a tree falls to the ground with a thunderous echo. The departure point for this work seems to be the conundrum “if a tree falls in a forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” But other questions emerge: Who or what is causing these trees to fall? Is this a statement about nature and inevitability, about proverbially missing the forest for the trees, a commentary about deforestation or a metaphor for loss? Or is it perhaps an exercise in anticipation?
An important strength of the Hirshhorn Museum is its holdings in figurative art. "Strange Bodies" brings together some of the most praised and popular examples of figuration from the collection to show how expressionistic and surrealistic impulses toward human representation have evolved from the early and mid-twentieth century to recent decades. The tension between the enthusiastic response that figuration often receives from general audiences and the loaded, at times dark content it can carry is also explored. Moreover, the installation allows an assessment of past collection building. The core collection amassed and donated to the museum by Joseph Hirshhorn contains masterful and multiple works by Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, Willem de Kooning, and Francis Bacon. These works trace artists’ interests in dissolving or warping the human form to heighten its expressive impact during the first half of the twentieth century. Hirshhorn also acquired paintings by Balthus and René Magritte which represent the human subject in a surreal way, locating the body (or its parts) in contexts that are dislodged from the normal world. Past director James Demetrion built on Hirshhorn’s legacy by bringing important examples of figuration from the 1980s and 1990s into the collection, including sculptures and paintings by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Georg Baselitz, Lucian Freud, Robert Gober, Julian Schnabel, and Franz West. Some of the museum’s recent collecting activity has included acquisitions of works by Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, John Currin, Ron Mueck, and Lisa Yuskavage. Many of these contemporary pieces demonstrate how artists use figuration to distort the human form in order to investigate the borders between representation and abstraction, as well as to tangibly manifest psychological states and concepts of Installed in the lower level galleries, "Strange Bodies" will also include a small gallery devoted to a survey of the museum’s in-depth but under-utilized holdings of works on paper and paintings by George Grosz—works that further demonstrate a socially-charged use of the figure.
Terence Gower’s project "Public Spirit" grew out of his research into the history of the museum during his 2007 artist fellowship with the Smithsonian. The exhibition tells the story of the original proposal for the Hirshhorn Museum, which founder Joseph Hirshhorn envisioned as the centerpiece of a utopian "town of culture" planned for the wilderness of western Ontario, Canada. In the mid-1950’s, Hirshhorn enlisted architect Phillip Johnson to design the town, and although the project was never realized, photographic documentation of his architectural model still exists. Gower uses these photos along with other documentation of the plans for the town and Ezra Stoller’s photographs of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden for his material.
Terence Gower’s project “Public Spirit: The Hirshhorn Project” grew out of his research into the history of the museum during his 2007 artist fellowship with the Smithsonian. The exhibition tells the story of the original proposal for the Hirshhorn Museum, which founder Joseph Hirshhorn envisioned as the centerpiece of a utopian "town of culture" planned for the wilderness of western Ontario, Canada. In the mid-1950’s, Hirshhorn enlisted architect Phillip Johnson to design the town, and although the project was never realized, photographic documentation of his architectural model still exists. Gower uses these photos along with other documentation of the plans for the town and Ezra Stoller’s photographs of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden for his material. “Public Spirit: The Hirshhorn Project” includes a digitally animated video projection, which takes visitors on a tour of the proposed town (including the museum where Gower has hung an imagined exhibition) and the surrounding landscape. The project also contains a large-scale sculptural model of two buildings within Johnson’s plan and a series of posters incorporating imagery and text related to the history of the Hirshhorn Museum, its collection, and its founding collector. Building upon his previous explorations of modernism in the context of architecture, Gower’s “Public Spirit: The Hirshhorn Project” explores the optimism of the Modernist utopia, the complexity of public and private space, and the relationship between industry and philanthropy.
"The Panza Collection" highlights an exceptional selection of 39 Conceptual, Light and Space and Environmental works that the Hirshhorn recently acquired from Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, whose collection of contemporary American and European art is hailed internationally. The majority of works date to the late 1960s and early 1970s. The acquisition encompasses the work of Robert Barry, Larry Bell, Hanne Darboven, Jan Dibbets, Hamish Fulton, Douglas Huebler, Robert Irwin, Joseph Kosuth, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Bruce Nauman, Richard Nonas, Roman Opalka, Lawrence Weiner, and Doug Wheeler. As a group, these works shed light on a pivotal moment in the history of contemporary art when artists increasingly defied the time-honored categories of paintings and sculpture. The acquisition adds significant breadth and depth to the Hirshhorn’s holdings from this period and, moreover, attests to the remarkable diversity of artistic practices that flourished amidst a wide-ranging interrogation of the nature and meaning of art. In the adjacent galleries, Dr. Panza and his wife Giovanna organize the second installment of the Hirshhorn's ongoing series, "Ways of Seeing." This series invites noted artists, collectors, filmmakers and others to explore the museum's holdings of nearly 12,000 artworks and create installations that reflect their own unique perspectives, encouraging new ways of looking at the collection.
At the heart of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is its collection. The more than 12,000 objects that now comprise its holdings are largely the result of the generosity of the Museum's founder, Joseph H. Hirshhorn. Our collection also includes gifts from a new generation of donors and purchases that not only enhance the existing collection but also look to the future with recent works by emerging and influential international artists in all media.This fall, we devote our galleries to the permanent collection—old favorites, new additions, and even an exploration of what might have been.Visitors will have their first opportunity to view the acquisition of thirty-nine works from the world-renowned private collection of Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. In addition to filling a Conceptual art gap in our collection, these works also round out holdings by specific artists...
As part of its mission to collect important works by the artists of our time, the Hirshhorn has recently acquired numerous works in diverse media by a range of international artists. Among the recent Contemporary Acquisitions Council (CAC) purchases is Margaret Salmon's poignant video installation Ninna Nanna, 2006, which follows the understated domestic dramas of three young mothers. The intimacies of feeding, changing, and soothing the infants are portrayed across a triptych of projections, while emotions ranging from tenderness to exhaustion register on the women's faces. This look at early motherhood replaces stereotypical bliss with a complex study of individuals adapting to new relationships and realities. Salmon shot the work in Italy and chose a haunting Italian lullaby to accompany her color and black-and-white 16mm imagery...
Since the initial gift of 6,000 works of art by founding donor Joseph H. Hirshhorn, the Museum has benefited from the generosity of local, national, and international collectors of modern and contemporary art. In addition to Mr. Hirshhorn's collection, 1,354 objects have been given by 378 donors over the years. (To see a full list of these donors, please visit our website.) Gifts to the collection have come from established prominent collectors as well as those just beginning to acquire art...
Curators Anne Ellegood and Evelyn Hankins have recently reinstalled a number of collection galleries on the third level of the Museum. In the lobby, several important paintings from the 1960s by Frank Stella offer a stark contrast to the Abstract Expressionist canvases (on view in adjacent galleries) by such renowned painters as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, who gained notoriety in the 1950s. Stella's abstract canvases embrace hard-edged geometries. Working in both mono- and multichrome palettes, his use of familiar shapes and repeated forms create rhythmic and dynamic spaces that deny illusion in painting. Another gallery includes a selection of early twentieth-century paintings that depict scenes from everyday life, including George Wesley Bellows' lively portrayal of a boxing match and the serene and somewhat haunting depiction of a couple seated in a theater by Edward Hopper...
Every Friday at 12:30 pm, the Hirshhorn hosts free informal gallery discussions. Museum staff as well as local artists, scholars, and people from a variety of viewpoints share their insights with visitors and encourage a dialogue about the works on view. Curatorial Research Associate Ryan Hill emphasizes this interactive approach at the Hirshhorn. "The act of looking can be a conversation between the viewer and an artwork," he notes. "When experienced with others in the social space of the Museum, people think and feel in ways they may not expect."Regular attendees to the program have observed that it is "a great way to spend my lunch break" or to "find out more about my favorite pieces in the collection." Local artist Linn Meyers said "it's a 'quickie' but it always has depth, something to mull over for the rest of my Friday afternoon."Speakers have included locals like Mary Coble, William Christenberry, and iona rozeal brown, giving them a public platform to discuss their work and that of others...
Artists Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt, aka Semiconductor, have collaborated since 1999 on various forms of “digital noise and computer anarchy,” including films, experimental DVDs, and multimedia performances. The London-based pair makes moving-image works that reveal our physical world in flux: cities in motion, shifting landscapes, and systems in chaos. They strive to transcend the constraints of time, scale, and natural forces and explore the world beyond human experience, questioning our very existence. "Magnetic Movie," 2007, an eye-dazzling “documentary” created during the artists’ residency at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley. The secret lives of invisible magnetic fields are exposed as chaotic ever-changing geometries. VLF (very low frequency) audio recordings reveal recurrent “whistlers” produced by fleeting electrons, while space scientists describe their discoveries. As we watch the film it’s not clear: Are we observing a series of scientific experiments, the universe in flux, or a documentary of a fictional world? "Magnetic Movie" was awarded best film at Cutting Edge and at the 2008 British Animation Awards and best experimental film at the 2007 Tirana International Film Festival. Joseph Gerhardt was born in 1972, Oxford, England, and has a bachelor’s of arts in sculpture from the University of Brighton. Ruth Jarman was born in 1973, Fareham, England, and has a bachelor’s in critical fine art practice from the University of Brighton.
Dear friends, This summer promises to be an especially eventful one for the Hirshhorn, and I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from our upcoming exhibitions, events, and initiatives. To celebrate the opening of Realisms, part two of The Cinema Effect, our eight-month exploration of moving-image art, we will host a Meet the Artist talk with renowned filmmaker and Realisms artist Isaac Julien on June 19 and After Hours on June 20. I am pleased to note that After Hours has become one of the most popular arts events in Washington. Be among the first to see the exhibition, as well as the new Currents: Recent Acquisitions installation and Black Box: Kimsooja, and enjoy live performances and music until midnight. Return to the Black Box in August to see the eye-popping scientific imaginings the artists known as Semiconductor created during their residency at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley...
Creative collaborations with artists energize us. We work with artists to create exhibitions and programs and encourage their involvement in unexpected ways. Artists help us rethink our practices, re-envision our spaces, and reinvigorate our visitors’ experiences. When we conceptualized the Hirshhorn’s first institutional advertising campaign, we naturally turned to artists to help convey our message and “Art Surrounds You” is the central driving the advertising campaign...
Among the works most recently acquired by the Hirshhorn is French-born artist Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture Legs, 1986, a gift from Trustee Ginny Williams in honor of former Director Olga Viso. Bourgeois is one of the most influential sculptors in contemporary art. She represented the United States at the 1993 Venice Biennale and was the first artist commissioned to create a monumental sculpture for the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, London. Many of her works refer to the human body, usually by indirect allusions (such as empty clothing and furniture), but she has also sculpted fragments of anatomy. Legs is her largest, consisting of long, attenuated, vertical limbs—each one ten feet tall but only two inches wide...
The second part of the Hirshhorn’s exploration of contemporary moving-image art, "Realisms," looks at a decade of film, video and digital works that investigate how cinema—now encompassing such related media as television, home video and digital entertainment—communicates, amuses and critiques by complicating the relationship between fiction and reality. Films and videos by nineteen international artists reveal a spirit of critical self-examination and invention that parallels cinema’s historical ability to imagine for itself other possible forms, functions, and correspondences with the world at large. "Realisms" is divided into two sections. The first half focuses on films that quote Hollywood, global cinema and popular culture, while the second half examines media representations as they relate to historical events and the genre of the documentary. Realisms features the work of Candice Breitz, Matthew Buckingham, Paul Chan, Ian Charlesworth, Phil Collins, Jeremy Deller, Kota Ezawa, Omer Fast, Pierre Huyghe, Runa Islam, Christian Jankowski, Isaac Julien, Michèle Magema, Julian Rosefeldt, Corinna Schnitt, Mungo Thomson, Kerry Tribe, Francesco Vezzoli and Artur Zmijewski. The exhibition is organized by curator Anne Ellegood and associate curator Kristen Hileman.
In Kimsooja's "A Laundry Woman, Yamuna River, Delhi, 2000," the artist acts as a visual and spiritual mediator through which viewers are invited to contemplate the flow of the river--a metaphor for life. The work evolved from the series A Needle Woman, 1999-2000, in which the artist appeared as "everywoman," with her back to the camera, venturing onto city streets around the world or reclining on a rock perch, lying still while clouds pass overhead. The artist appears to lose herself in these contemplative scenarios, becoming immersed in the world and anonymous "like a needle in a haystack," and then emerges to provide a poetic focal point--a viewpoint through the eye of the proverbial needle.Kimsooja explores the properties of fabric through video, sculpture, and installations. Her work often conflates Eastern and Western traditions and investigates the common ground between intimate, personal realms and those of universal global dimensions.
The Hirshhorn has commissioned a new piece for the Sculpture Garden by conceptual artist Dan Graham. “For Gordon Bunshaft” (2007) is a site-specific work placed near the reflecting pool that consists of a triangular pavilion with two-way mirrors and an open wooden lattice. The two-way mirrors allow visitors standing both inside and outside to simultaneously see themselves and each other as well as the surrounding landscape simultaneously. Graham has described these structures of mirror and wood as hybrids: one side derived from traditional Japanese architecture, while the other two sides allude to modern corporate architecture and Bunshaft’s design of the iconic Hirshhorn building. Graham has long been recognized as one of the key figures in the evolution of conceptual art...
The site is more easily navigated and has a depth of information and multiple resources for visitors to learn more about the Museum, its exhibitions, programming, and collection.
Dear Friends: I write to you with a mixture of pride, anticipation, and sadness. As you may know, in January, Olga Viso joined the staff of our sister institution, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, as its fifth director. Olga was with the Hirshhorn for twelve years in several roles, including director for the last two years. Although we hate to lose her, we are thrilled for her and grateful for what she accomplished in her time here. During Olga’s tenure as a curator, deputy director, and director, she made great strides for the Museum as a scholar, a creative leader, and an administrator...
Marsha Reines Perelman has joined the Hirshhorn’s Board of Trustees. An accomplished entrepreneur, Perelman has also made her mark as a philanthropist. Mrs. Perelman is the first woman to chair the Franklin Institute, founded around 1825 in Philadelphia. She is a trustee of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman Education Foundation, Inc., which supports Jewish cultural and welfare organizations, as well as art and history museums and other cultural institutions...
Shared trends of the contemporary international art world, as well as the unique history surrounding art made in Latin America over the past five decades, were key motifs woven through a recent two-week research trip made by Hirshhorn curators. Curator Anne Ellegood and Associate Curator Kristen Hileman visited Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. They traveled to six cities, visiting artists, galleries, museums, and private collectors, experiencing work by emerging as well as established artists in each city. They saw works by members of a young collective in Santiago, Chile, who explore the properties of media as diverse as gold paint and sugar paste. Stops at the Lygia Pape estate in Rio de Janeiro and the 6th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Allegre, Brazil, were highlights of the trip...
Evelyn Hankins has been appointed Associate Curator, Modern Art. She will provide stewardship and further develop the Hirshhorn’s collection with particular emphasis on pre-1960 works. In addition, Dr. Hankins will conceptualize and realize a range of Museum programs, including collection installations, exhibitions, and commissions. Hankins earned her Ph.D...
Continuing its tradition of collecting the work of individual artists in-depth, the Museum has purchased an installation consisting of multiple c-prints and inkjet prints by Wolfgang Tillmans that were on view at the Hirshhorn in summer 2007. The photographs span the years 1992-2007 (a range that covers almost the entirety of Tillmans's career) and comprise examples of the many sizes and genres in which Tillmans works. Included are a monumental recent abstraction and some of the artist's most iconic images from the 1900s—a rainbow appearing over a simple Shaker building and portraits of night club habitues. This grouping complements Tillmans's Concorde Grid, 1997, already part of the Hirshhorn's collection. Also new to the collection is Wayne Gonzales’s painting Pentagon, 2004–05, the gift of Danielle and David Ganek, Mark Rosman, and Jill and Peter Kraus...
Robert Barry, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, Bruce Nauman, and Doug Wheeler are some of the most prominent artists of our time. Works by these artists are part of a new acquisition of thirty-nine objects from the collection of Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. The Hirshhorn is one of a priviledged few institutions that Panza has invited into his collection, one of the world's great troves of American contemporary art. Sixteen major artists are represented in the group of mostly conceptual and California Light and Space works made primarily in the late 1960s and 1970s. These acquisitions substantially bridge the gap in the Hirshhorn's collection of conceptual art while also rounding out holdings by specific artists, and, in several cases, providing and overview of an artists' career...
Amy Sillman is known for paintings that are intimate, psychological and full of humor and pathos. For this new body of work, the artist begins by drawing couples from life and then makes additional drawings from memory, using these as inspiration for related paintings. Her works embrace abstraction without abandoning representation, as the details of the figures are shrouded behind bold strokes and geometric forms. Ultimately, Sillman’s latest works present feelings and anxieties in an abstract language. The exhibition is organized by curator Anne Ellegood. "Directions – Amy Sillman, Third Person Singular" was co-organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. The presentation at the Hirshhorn is made possible through the generous support of Trellis Fund, the Holenia Trust Fund II, the Hirshhorn’s Board of Trustees, and contributions to the Annual Circle.
The Hirshhorn marks this coming year with an unprecedented two-part exploration of contemporary moving-image art and the ways in which the cinematic has blurred distinctions between illusion and reality. The two exhibitions, "Dreams" and "Realisms," include film and video installations by a range of influential and emerging international artists, including Omer Fast, Gay Hill, Runa Islam, Isaac Julien, Anothony McCall, Steve McQueen, Tony Oursler, and Andy Warhol among others. Dreams addresses film’s ability to transport viewers out of their everyday lives and into states that lie between wakefulness and sleep, sending them on journeys into the darker recesses of the imagination. Generous support for The Cinema Effect is provided by The Broad Art Foundation and the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Charitable Foundation with assistance from Marion Boulton Stroud, Lorie Peters Lauthier, the British Council, the Holenia Trust in memory of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, the Friends of Jim and Barbara Demetrion Endowment Fund, and the Hirshhorn’s Board of Trustees. In-kind support was provided by Sony Electronics Inc. The catalogue was made possible in part by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and Barbara and Aaron Levine.
Neuenschwander’s films include themes of chance and improvisation. The artist is perhaps best known for her photographic series and was a finalist for the Hugo Boss award in 2004. Neuenschwander was born in Brazil in 1967, where she currently lives and works. Included in the Black Box presentation is “Quarta-Feira de Cinzas/Epilogue” (2006), which is Portuguese for “Ash Wednesday.” The film is a collaboration with artist Cao Guimaraes and offers a mesmerizing close-up view of a community of ants hauling the remains of a carnival celebration—glimmering cardboard confetti—into the heart of their colony.
"Currents" features a selection of significant works from 1967 forward, all acquired by the Hirshhorn over the last four years. Initially installed in November of last year, several works have just been rotated, and a new installation is currently on view, including works by Andrea Bowers, Mona Hatoum, Ernesto Neto, Paul Pfeiffer, Robin Rhode, and Allen Ruppersberg. The works on view have entered the collection in a number of ways: as gifts, as purchases proposed by Hirshhorn curators and approved by the Board of Trustees and as purchases made through the Contemporary Acquisitions Council, a membership group that facilitates the acquisition of works by emerging artists. The selection presented reflects the great diversity of work being acquired by the Hirshhorn, ranging from conceptual photography to sculpture. Currents is organized by curator Anne Ellegood.
“Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited” is the first consideration of Washington, D.C.–based artist Morris Louis’s work since 1986. The exhibition presents major paintings dating from the early 1950s until his death in late 1962, the years Louis developed an innovative method of painting by “staining” his unprimed canvases with thinned washes of acrylic pigments. The artist, who was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1912, studied at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts. As a young man he painted in a realist manner; only in his forties did he find his signature Even in cramped quarters in Washington D.C., Louis was able to make large paintings, achieving an exuberant, lyrical celebration of colors hovering in white space. Louis became an inspirational figure for other artists in the Color Field movement in the 1960s, notably Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler. The exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, in close collaboration with the artist’s widow, Marcella Louis Brenner and independent scholar Diane Upright. The Hirshhorn’s presentation is coordinated by senior curator Valerie Fletcher. Coinciding with this exhibition will be galleries devoted to the recent research and conservation of Color Field paintings in the Hirshhorn’s collection. "Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited" is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. This exhibition is supported by Marcella Louis Brenner and by Harriet and Elliott Goldstein.
The Hirshhorn has acquired a new work by Yoko Ono, "Wish Tree for Washington DC." Wish Trees are also located near the Jefferson and Vietnam memorials as well as at The ARC in Anacostia. Ono will exhibit 10 trees around Washington, DC for the 2007 Cherry Blossom Festival. The Hirshhorn’s tree, a white Japanese flowering dogwood, will be the only Wish Tree to remain in Washington as a permanent installation and was gifted to the museum by the artist. The project evokes the spirit and goodwill of the initial 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees to the United States from Japan. Wishes from around the world will be gathered by Ono to create her Imagine Peace Tower, which will be inaugurated in October 2007 in Iceland. “Yoko Ono Imagine Peace” is organized by Street Scenes: Project for DC, and is curated by Nora Halpern and Welmoed Laanstra.
Art Night is transformed into After Hours, a program occurring three Fridays per year that offers extended hours to view the exhibition (8 pm to midnight) and live performances by a variety of unusual and often playful artists. This late-night social gathering attracts as many as 2,500 attendees per night from around the Washington, DC, area.
Hirshhorn magazine releases its first issue, a vibrant, content-rich publication that brings artists’ voices forward and gives insight into the art and featured at the Hirshhorn.
Walking into one of Jim Lambie's "Zobop" striped taped floor pieces is like entering a giant painting. As part of our continuing efforts to give visitors opportunities to experience new works of art, Turner Prize finalist Lambie (b. Glasgow, Scotland,1964) has transformed the Hirshhorn's lobby into a vibrant, colorful, and immersive environment. The artist meticulously adheres vinyl tape to the floor in a geometric pattern that responds to the building's architecture. The floor is further enhanced by a group of sculptures-three new pieces made on site using existing elements and materials found in thrift stores, markets, and pawn shops throughout Washington. Lambie's interest in “making edges disappear” breaks down the divisions between sculpture and other media. As a musician and DJ, he often creates work explicitly related to music that strives to replicate the experience of being transported by a favorite song. This Directions project, organized by associate curator Anne Ellegood, is the first presentation of Jim Lambie's work in Washington. The Directions series is made possible by Ray Graham III and the Trellis Fund. In-kind support generously provided by Hyatt Arlington.
As part of its commitment to the creative possibilities of new media, the Hirshhorn opens its "Black Box" space on the lower level. Ever since, it has presented a diverse range of solo exhibitions devoted to emerging and established international artists, including Mircea Cantor, Kimsooja, and Jesper Just among others.
In 2005, Olga Viso is named director of the Hirshhorn. Viso joined the curatorial department of the Hirshhorn in 1995 as assistant curator, was named associate curator in 1998, and served as curator of contemporary art from 2000 to 2003. In October 2003, Viso was named deputy director of the Hirshhorn. She worked on the strategic planning, artistic direction and played a key role in enlarging and reconstituting the Museum’s advisory board.
The Museum launches a comprehensive strategic plan and rebranding strategy that positions the Hirshhorn as a leading voice for contemporary art and culture, providing a national platform for the art and artists of our time. The Museum’s programming, including Friday Gallery Talks, ArtLab for Teens, Artist at Work with Youth, Meet the Artist talks and podcasts seek to share the transformative power of modern and contemporary art with audiences at all levels of awareness and understanding.
Demetrion is succeeded by Ned Rifkin in February 2002, who returned to the Hirshhorn after directorship positions at the Menil Collection in Texas and the High Museum of Art in Georgia. Rifkin was chief curator of the Hirshhorn from 1986 until 1991. During his tenure as director, he establishes "Gyroscope" (until 2005), a series of rotating installations of the Hirshhorn’s collection, which groups works by themes, a question, or an rather than by chronology or artist. In October 2003, Rifkin is named Under Secretary for Art of the Smithsonian. As head of the international art museums complex, he oversees the National Museum of African Art; Freer Gallery of Art; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; and Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City, in addition to the Hirshhorn.