Hirshhorn Plaza

Evelyn C. Hankins, HEAD Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Evelyn C. Hankins, Senior Curator

Evelyn C. Hankins is head curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She joined the Museum’s curatorial team in 2008 and was appointed to her current position in 2020. As head curator, Hankins oversees all aspects of the curatorial team’s exhibitions, collections, research, and advancement work, including leading the development of multiple exhibitions and a new collections strategy guiding the Hirshhorn’s acquisition priorities as the Museum celebrates its fiftieth anniversary.

Her recent exhibitions include Sam Gilliam: Full Circle (2022), the artist’s final museum show; Marcel Duchamp: The Barbara and Aaron Levine Collection (2019–2022), introducing a landmark gift to the Museum; Pat Steir: Color Wheel (2019–2021), a site-specific paintings project; Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes (2018–2019), a major monographic survey; and Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge (2017–ongoing), the artist’s largest work to date. Hankins was lauded for her exhibition Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change (2016), a two-part exhibition comprising a historical show focused on Irwin’s groundbreaking artworks from the 1960s and a major new scrim installation created in response to the Museum’s distinctive architecture. While at the Hirshhorn, she has also organized a number of other projects, including Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History (2017); Susan Philipsz: Part File Score (2016); At the Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection (2014–2015; co-curated); Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance (2013); Over, Under, Next: Experiments in Mixed Media, 1913–Present (2013); ColorForms (2010–2012); Walead Beshty: Legibility on Color Backgrounds (2009); and The Panza Collection (2008–2009). She also was the venue curator for the traveling exhibitions Andy Warhol: Shadows (2011–2012), Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964–1977 (2011), and Guillermo Kuitca: Everything (2010–2011).

For more than a decade, Hankins has provided curatorial oversight for the Hirshhorn’s expansive paintings and works on paper collections. During her tenure at the Museum, she has brought artworks across media into the collection by both gift and purchase, including works by artists such as Milton Avery, Hilla and Bernd Becher, Maren Hassinger, Jacqueline Humphries, Charles Gaines, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Rodney McMillian, Rebecca Morris, Deborah Roberts, Fred Sandback, Hedda Sterne, Charline von Heyl, and Mary Weatherford, among many others.

Previously, Hankins was the curator of collections and exhibitions at the Robert Hull Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont in Burlington. She also worked as a curatorial assistant and assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Hankins earned her BA in art history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her MA and PhD in art history from Stanford University.