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Hirshhorn Museum Acquires 24 Contemporary Works of Art

Monday, November 20, 2006

Media only:
Gabriel Einsohn (202) 633-2822; einsohng@si.edu

The Hirshhorn Museum has acquired 24 new works of art—many of which complement current holdings and reinforce the Hirshhorn’s commitment to collecting key artists’ work in depth, as the museum’s founder, Joseph H. Hirshhorn did. Several of the works were included in recent exhibitions at the museum. Most notable among these acquisitions are 13 photographs from the “Seascape” series by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, which were installed in one long dramatically lit gallery last winter as part of the acclaimed “Hiroshi Sugimoto” exhibition. These large-format photographs are the gift of The Glenstone Foundation, founded by Mitchell P. Rales. One of these photographs, “Caribbean Sea, Jamaica,” (1980) was given in honor of Kerry Brougher, who organized the Sugimoto exhibition.

“We are immensely grateful to The Glenstone Foundation for this generous gift,” said Brougher, chief curator and director of art and programs at the Hirshhorn. “These works will be a highlight of the Hirshhorn’s growing contemporary collection—and because Glenstone has given the entire seascape room from the exhibition, we will have the opportunity in the future to recreate the original installation in addition to presenting the photographs in other contexts.”

Two of the new acquisitions are purchases from “The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture,” the exhibition currently on view at the Hirshhorn: Rachel Harrison’s “Pretty Discreet” (2004) and Isa Genzken’s “Untitled” (2006). Works by Jim Lambie, whose recent site-specific “Directions” project transformed the museum’s lobby into a lively, interactive space, were also acquired: “Male Stripper” (2003), a black-and-white striped floor installation, and “Boobaliscious” (2004), a sculpture made from glitter, PVC pipes and sequined tube tops.

A brightly painted and sculpted canvas by Washington artist Sam Gilliam, “Ruby Light” (1972), a museum purchase and partial gift of the artist and Marsha Mateyka, and a stacked and cut paper installation by Uruguayan artist Marco Maggi, “Hotbed (DC)” (2006), the gift of the artist, will increase the Hirshhorn’s holdings of these artists, giving visitors a deeper understanding of the breadth and scope of their artistic production.

Several purchases by the museum bring artists into the collection for the first time, including three photographic works by Christopher Williams, a triptych by Troy Brauntuch and a framed collage by Al Hansen.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian’s museum of international modern and contemporary art, encompasses some 11,500 paintings, sculptures, mixed media installations and works on paper. The Hirshhorn maintains an active exhibition program and offers an array of free public programs that explore the art of our time. The museum, located at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free.

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