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Saturday, May 1, 2004

“Gabriel Orozco: Extension of Reflection,” an exhibition featuring approximately 55 of the artist’s color photographs from 1989 to 2003, will be on view at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from June 10 through Sept. 6, as part of the museum’s ongoing “Directions” series.

Orozco’s photographs, taken in Mexico, New York, India and other locations around the world, reveal his interest in familiar objects and images as symbols of social interaction as well as his fascination with the lyrical beauty of the everyday. Since the 1980s, the artist has been photographing common objects as he finds them–“self arranged” on the streets–or as situations in which he has gently intervened, creating striking but temporary compositions in the urban landscape. Orozco’s photographs inspire his work in other media, including sculpture, installation, video and drawing.

Born in Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, in 1962, Orozco is now based in New York, Paris and Mexico City. He studied painting at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Mexico and at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. His work has been the subject of exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Kanaal Art Foundation, Kortrijk, Belgium; the Kunsthalle Zurich; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, among other venues. The artist’s work has also been included in the Whitney Biennial (1995), Documenta X (1997) and XI (2002) and the Venice Biennale (1993 and 2003).

The Hirshhorn’s presentation is organized by Phyllis Rosenzweig, curator of works on paper, and is made possible by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Trellis Fund and by contributions to the Hirshhorn’s Curators’ Circle. Since 1987, the Hirshhorn’s “Directions” series has brought the work of leading international contemporary artists to Washington, D.C., in highly focused, one-person exhibitions.

The Hirshhorn is copublishing with Steidl “Gabriel Orozco: Photographs,” the first major publication to focus solely on Orozco’s photographic work. Essays by Rosenzweig and Mia Fineman, research associate in the Department of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, present in-depth analyses of the artist’s photographs, exploring the difference between the photographs he regards as artworks in their own right and his equally beautiful documentary images of his sculptures and performances. The book includes 75 color plates.

Highlights of free public programs include “Meet the Artist: Gabriel Orozco,” a gallery tour with the artist (June 12, 12:30 p.m.; meet in the second-floor escalator lobby); and a selection of lectures, including “When Poetry Happens–The Photographs of Gabriel Orozco” by Mia Fineman (July 8, 7 p.m.; Ring Auditorium); and “Photogravity” by Gilbert Vicario of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, followed by Juan Carlos Martín’s 2002 film “Gabriel Orozco” (July 25, 2 and 3:30 p.m.; both Ring Auditorium). Visit www.hirshhorn.si.edu for a schedule of free public youth programs. A separate series of vintage Mexican sci-fi and horror feature films occur as part of the citywide project “¡Viva Mexico! Washington, DC Celebrates.” See www.vivamexicodc.org for a schedule of screenings.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week. During “Art Night on the Mall: Hirshhorn Hot Nights,” the museum is hosting extended summer hours until 8 p.m. every Thursday during the month of July. The Hirshhorn is located at Independence Ave. and Seventh St., S.W. By Metrorail, take the L’Enfant Plaza Metro stop and exit at Maryland Ave. and Seventh St. Admission to the museum is free.

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