Ai Weiwei with Melissa Chiu during James T Demetrion Lecture

Established in 2001, this annual program celebrates James T. “Jim” Demetrion’s tenure as the Hirshhorn’s second and longest-serving museum director. Made possible by the Friends of Jim and Barbara Demetrion Endowment Fund, the Hirshhorn’s most distinguished lecture series has celebrated many of the world’s leading artists, such as Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramović, Doug Aitken, Jordan Casteel, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Joseph Kosuth, Robert Irwin, Marilyn Minter, Claes Oldenburg, and James Turrell.
Jim Demetrion’s seventeen-year tenure (1984-2001) is recognized for his forward-thinking focus on the excellence of the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection. He grew and diversified the Museum’s world class collection, curated landmark surveys, fostered curatorial talents, expanded the endowment, and reimagined the outdoor plaza. Under his leadership, the Hirshhorn acquired masterworks by artists such as Christo, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jasper Johns, Anish Kapoor, Yves Klein, Glenn Ligon, Ana Mendieta, Brice Marden, Bruce Nauman, Nam June Paik, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Doris Salcedo, and countless others. Jim’s legacy holds a mirror to the Museum’s mission and Joseph Hirshhorn’s vision: Art is for everyone.

Lectures are generally held in the Ring Auditorium on the Lower Level of the Museum. Recordings are posted online.

In 2021, the Hirshhorn will host a celebration of Jim Demetrion’s life. Event details will be announced shortly.