Hirshhorn Plaza

Directions: Ernesto Neto
Installation view of Directions: Ernesto Neto, 2002, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

March 21 to June 23, 2002
Directions: Ernesto Neto presented a new site-specific installation, made from more than 100 yards of sheer, stretchable polyamide fabric, by the Brazilian artist (b. 1964), known for engulfing viewers in sensuous environments of organic forms and cushiony surfaces. Neto, who lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, has exhibited at the prestigious international biennials of São Paulo (1998) and Venice (2001) and a number of American museum venues, from the Guggenheim Museum’s traveling show Brazil: Body and Soul, to installations at the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Neto’s works are provocative, light-filled, and participatory. The suspended Directions gallery piece, titled The Dangerous Logic of Wooing, consists of two large interlocked forms, filled with more than 1,000 cubic feet of tiny Styrofoam pellets and counterbalanced in the air by nearly 1,000 pounds of white rice distributed among 12 sacks. The monumental shapes, with their dangling “arms” and “legs,” suggest biological entities. The marriage of these forms, one with a feminine character and the other with more masculine traits, is as much architectural as it is corporeal.

Neto further evolves a trend in Brazilian art, associated with Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, that is concerned with stimulating the senses and encouraging communal exploration. The modernist sculpture of Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Calder, modern ballet, astronomy and quantum mechanics, and Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey have also influenced Neto’s vision.

Curator of Contemporary Art Olga Viso organized the exhibition, which was supported through the generosity of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz, Eugenio López-JUMEX Collection, Sherry and Joel Mallin Family Foundation, Trellis Fund, contributions to the Hirshhorn’s Annual Circle, and the assistance of staff from The Fabric Workshop and Museum. In-kind support was provided by McCormick & Company, Inc. A free illustrated brochure was available.

Directions Gallery, Third Floor

About the Directions Series
Since its opening in 1974, the Hirshhorn has been committed to providing a platform for the artists of today. Directions, established in 1979 as a group installation and transformed in 1987 to highlight the work of a single artist or paired artists, has been a longstanding hallmark of the Museum’s exhibition program and partnership with living artists. Bringing a diverse range of emerging and established artists from around the world to Washington, the series provides a prominent space on the National Mall for new work and new ideas.