Friday, May 9, 2008
Located in the nation’s capital, the Hirshhorn presents the work of international modern and contemporary artists to more than 740,000 visitors each year. Currently on view, “Dreams” is part one of “The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image,” a major two-part exhibition organized by the Hirshhorn. Part two of the exhibition, “Realisms” opens on June 19, 2008. Along with the Black Box space for new media, independent film screenings and Summer Camp film series, 2008 stands out as a significant year for moving-image art at the Hirshhorn.
This spring, a new site-specific work by conceptual artist Dan Graham will be permanently installed in the Sculpture Garden. Further highlighting the museum’s recent acquisitions are ongoing and upcoming exhibitions such as “Currents,” “The Panza Collection” and “Ways of Seeing.” The “Directions” series, now in its 20th year, continues with “Amy Sillman: Third Person Singular” (currently on view), followed by exhibitions showcasing Terence Gower and Walead Beshty. Looking ahead to 2009 and 2010, monographic exhibitions will focus on the work of Louise Bourgeois, Yves Klein, Guillermo Kuitca and Anne Truitt.
“Currents: Recent Acquisitions”
Through fall 2008
“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.
“The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image”
Part I: “Dreams” Through May 11, 2008
“Dreams” addresses film’s ability to transport us out of our everyday lives into states that lie between wakefulness and sleep, sending us on journeys into the darker recesses of the imagination. The exhibition is organized by acting director and chief curator Kerry Brougher and associate curator Kelly Gordon.
Part II: “Realisms” June 19–Sept. 7, 2008
(Media Preview: June 18, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)
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 19 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. The exhibition is organized by curator Anne Ellegood and associate curator Kristen Hileman.
“Directions—Amy Sillman, Third Person Singular”
Through July 6, 2008
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.
Dan Graham: “For Gordon Bunshaft”
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. 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. This commission affirms the Hirshhorn’s emphasis on working with living artists and incorporating contemporary pieces into its noted Sculpture Garden. This is the first work of the artist to enter the collection.
“Black Box: Kimsooja”
April 28–Aug. 17, 2008
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 film evolved from the series “A Needle Woman” (1999−2000), in which the artist appeared as the everyman, 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 her 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 Black Box series is organized by associate curator Kelly Gordon.
“Black Box: Semiconductor”
Aug. 25–Dec. 14, 2008
UK-based artists Ruth Jarman and Joseph Gerhardt, aka Semiconductor, have collaborated since 1997 on various forms of “digital noise and computer anarchy,” including films, experimental DVDs and multi-media performances. Among the film shorts featured is “Magnetic Movie” (2007), an eye-dazzling “documentary” created during the artists’ residency at the NASA Space Sciences Laboratories, UC Berkeley.
“The Panza Collection” and “Ways of Seeing: Giuseppe and Giovanna Panza”
Oct. 23, 2008–Jan. 11, 2009
“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 1960’s and early 1970’s. 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.
“Directions—Terence Gower, Public Spirit: The Hirshhorn Project”
Nov. 5, 2008–March 22, 2009
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 ideological complexity of public and private space, and the relationship between industry and philanthropy.
Feb. 26–May 17, 2009
The Hirshhorn presents a major survey of the works of Louise Bourgeois, the French-born artist who immigrated 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.
The exhibition opens with Bourgeois’ early drawings and paintings, followed by the sculptural series of “Personages,” starkly abstracted standing figures created in the aftermath of World War II. Subsequent sculptures hang from the ceiling (“Spiral Woman,” “Arch of Hysteria,” “Janus” and “Legs”), attach to walls (“Torso Self-Portrait” and “Mamelles”), and are secreted in dramatic enclosures (“Destruction of the Father”). The exhibited works encompass a startling array of images and materials, ranging from traditional plaster, bronze, marble and wood to plastic, resin, latex, wax, steel fences, toy doll fragments, electric lights, fabrics, glass, rubber and found objects. The highlight of the exhibition is a stellar array of Bourgeois’ rarely seen masterpieces: the large structured environments known as the “Cell” series, including “Cell (Choisy),” the autobiographical duo “Red Room (Parents)” and “Red Room (Child),” and the nightmarish “Spider” cell. The exhibition is organized by Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution in association with Tate Modern, London and Centre Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition in organized by the Tate Modern and is accompanied by a 320-page catalog.
April 30-September 13, 2009
Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty creates captivating photographs that blend an enduring fascination with the relics of postwar visual culture and an astute inquiry into the ways that photography shapes people’s understanding of the world. Beshty works in variety photographic formats, including stereographs, photograms and oversized color prints that reflect the artist’s commensurate interest in the medium’s historical, conceptual and formal premises. At once alluring and haunting, Beshty’s photographs point to the indeterminacy in the act of viewing, as well as the mixture of nostalgia and condescension that shapes the perception of the postwar era. Beshty’s “Directions” project for the Hirshhorn includes color photograms and glass sculptures. The artist reconsiders the relationship between material practice and the modernist tropes of repetition, modularity and monumentality. This exhibition is organized by associate curator Evelyn Hankins.
“Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection”
Oct. 8, 2009–Jan. 3, 2010
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.
Feb. 11–May 23, 2010
“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 acting director and chief curator Kerry Brougher and Walker deputy director and chief curator Philippe Vergne.
“Guillermo Kuitca: The Space of Possibility”
June 24–Sept. 12, 2010
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 1982 and 2008, “Guillermo Kuitca” 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 and Miami Art Museum senior curator Peter Boswell. Anne Ellegood is the coordinating curator for the Hirshhorn.
About the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden welcomes visitors at all levels of understanding to experience the transformative power of contemporary art. The museum collects, preserves and presents international modern and contemporary art in all media, distinguished by in-depth holdings of major artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. By collaborating with artists on exhibitions, programs and special projects, the Hirshhorn provides an important national platform in Washington, D.C., for the vision and voices of artists. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25) and is located at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W.; admission is free.
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