Krzysztof Wodiczko; 1988-2000

Please join us for the rescheduled showing of the large-scale outdoor projection Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. (1988) on Mar. 7, 8 and 9, 7–9:30 p.m.

Out of sensitivity and respect for the victims and families in the immediate aftermath of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fl., the Hirshhorn postponed the final two nights of the projection’s initial presentation, which had been planned for Feb. 13, 14 and 15. The projection was presented the night of Feb. 13.

The decision to postpone—and selection of new dates—was made in close collaboration with the artist, who will be able to return to Washington for the rescheduled projection. “To me, the silence feels most respectful. In this case, not showing the projection shows respect and sensitivity to the people who suffer from this great tragedy,” said Wodiczko at the time. (read more)

“…the 30-year-old projection appears to me today strangely familiar and at once unbearably relevant. More than ever before, the meaning of our monuments depends on our active role in turning them into sites of memory and critical evaluation of history as well as places of public discourse and action.”
– Krzysztof Wodiczko

Coinciding with Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present a three-night restaging of Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000, the iconic, large-scale outdoor projection by acclaimed artist Krzysztof Wodiczko (b. Warsaw, Poland, 1943).

One of the most significant public artworks of the 1980s, the celebrated installation first debuted to DC audiences over three nights in October 1988. Commissioned by the Hirshhorn and created by Wodiczko specifically for its uniquely curved building, the projection debuted as part of the Museum’s “WORKS” program, which ran from 1987–1993 and featured a series of temporary, site-specific exhibitions by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Ann Hamilton, Matt Mullican, and Alfredo Jaar.

The 68-foot projection spans the building’s three stories and features symbolic images that speak powerfully to socio-political issues of both the 1980s and present-day. While referring to such widespread debates as political rhetoric, reproductive rights, and the death penalty, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000 also alludes to the power of mass media to convey ideologies.

Wodiczko was at the forefront of a new interest in public art, and his Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000 reflected the increased political awareness in the art of the 1980s. Borrowing tactics from film and advertising, Wodiczko used recognizable imagery on a massive scale—body parts, figures, guns, and money—to elicit reactions in his viewers.

A Polish-born American artist, Wodiczko is renowned for his large-scale projections that address such themes as war, conflict, trauma, and memory. By using the façades of buildings and monuments as backdrops for his work, Wodiczko interrogates the construction of collective memory and history while reconsidering the meaning of public space. In a career spanning four decades, he has realized more than 80 of these public projects all around the world. Wodiczko is currently Professor in Residence of Art, Design and the Public Domain at Harvard University.


The Washington Post, Art Off the Wall, 1988: “It’s shocking, but it’s supposed to be.”