Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu guiding artists through the Hirshhorn collection storage

February 9, 2023

Hirshhorn Partners with MTV Entertainment Studios on TV Series Documenting Artists and Art Making
Filmed Onsite, “The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist” Follows Seven Rising Artists and Features Artworks in the Collection; Launches March 3 on MTV, March 7 on Smithsonian Channel

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden confirmed the launch of The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist, a docuseries about art making produced in partnership with MTV Entertainment Studios and PB&J TV + Docs. The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist premieres Friday, March 3, at 9 p.m. ET on MTV following RuPaul’s Drag Race; Smithsonian Channel will re-air it Tuesday, March 7, at 9 p.m. ET. The series will use #TheExhibit.

The non-fiction program introduces seven rising American artists selected in consultation with Hirshhorn curators following a national search. Over the course of the series, the diverse group: Jamaal Barber (Atlanta), Frank Buffalo Hyde (Northfield, Minnesota),  Misha Kahn (Brooklyn, New York), Clare Kambhu (Queens, New York), Baseera Khan (Brooklyn), Jillian Mayer (Miami) and Jennifer Warren (Chicago) create “commissions” inspired by social themes reflected in works in the collection by modern and contemporary artists, including Laurie Anderson, Mark Bradford, the Guerrilla Girls, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Kent Monkman, Nam June Paik, Horace Pippin and Alma Thomas.

The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist exemplifies the Hirshhorn’s radical accessibility to modern and contemporary art,” said Melissa Chiu, museum director. “The Hirshhorn is free to all, yet many people cannot travel to Washington, D.C. The series will introduce audiences, wherever they are, to art making, spotlighting the importance of artists in society and energizing the Hirshhorn’s art-for-all mission.”

As lead judge, Chiu consulted with a rotating panel of art-world experts to evaluate the originality and execution of the artists’ works and identify the most successful responses. The series culminates with one artist receiving an invitation to exhibit an original work at the Hirshhorn and a cash prize furnished by the network. The judges included artists Adam Pendleton and Abigail DeVille, critic Kenny Schachter, sociologist Sarah Thornton, arts educator Samuel Hoi, digital strategist for art JiaJia Fei and Hirshhorn trustee and art collector Keith Rivers. The series is hosted by MTV News’ Dometi Pongo.

About the Hirshhorn Collection

The Hirshhorn’s permanent collection includes leading artists from the late 19th century to the present day and comprises paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new-media works. The Hirshhorn has one of the most comprehensive collections of modern sculpture in the world, with many examples on view indoors and in the Sculpture Garden.

An active global acquisitions program continually adds work to the Hirshhorn collection in all media, with an emphasis on new work and the work of artists exhibiting at and collaborating with the Museum. Artists such as Ai Weiwei, Mark Bradford, David Hammons, Mona Hatoum, Robert Irwin, Yoko Ono, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Susan Philipsz, Adrian Piper, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo and Rachel Whiteread are represented by major works. Global modernism is also a collecting focus, and recent additions include works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Natsuyuki Nakanishi and Park Seo-bo. African American artists recently entering the collection include Charles Gaines, Arthur Jafa, Jennie C. Jones, Senga Nengudi, Sondra Perry and Henry Taylor.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar programs on the art of our time—free to all. The Museum and its outdoor Sculpture Garden are open daily (except Dec. 25), 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

About Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios

Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios is one of the preeminent media entities in the world, connecting with global audiences through its nine iconic brands—MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Pop, Logo, the Smithsonian Channel, Paramount Network and TV Land—and its Studios arm, which produces acclaimed series and movies as well as award-winning documentaries through MTV Documentary Films.

About PB&J TV + Docs

Founded in 2004 by Patty Ivins, PB&J TV + Docs is an award-winning media company. PB&J TV + Docs’ work shines a light on unseen stories and amplifies creative voices that others have overlooked. For almost 20 years, the company has created hundreds of hours of innovative television series in every nonfiction category for top broadcasters such as MTV, NBC, FOX, Showtime, OWN, A&E, CMT and Lifetime, including Growing Up Is a Drag and Hungry, among others. In addition to TV, PB&J TV + Docs is dedicated to creating high-impact, culturally relevant documentaries about racism, sexual violence and womanhood that have premiered at film festivals globally. Recent film and television projects are feature documentary Deconstructing Karen on iTunes and MTV and the Smithsonian Channel’s The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist.

About the Artists

Through an ongoing investigation of the self and identity, Jamaal Barber (b. 1980; Richmond, Virginia) is an artist, printmaker and educator whose mixed-media practice examines the ways in which social issues, culture and identity can overlap with Blackness. His works have been shown at Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia; Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama; Blue Spiral Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina; Young Harris College, Madison, Georgia; and the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk, Connecticut. He received a Master Fine Arts in printmaking from Georgia State University in 2021, where he also completed an Master of fine Arts thesis exhibition titled “Fullness.” He is currently a visiting lecturer at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design in Atlanta.

Frank Buffalo Hyde (b. 1974; Santa Fe, New Mexico) is an Onondaga/Niimíipuu (Nez Perce) artist whose paintings examine and elevate an image of contemporary Indigenous life through a vibrant pop sensibility and uncompromising satirical eye. His work has been shown at museums including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, Santa Fe; the C. M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana; and the Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma. His work is in the public collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; Iroquois Museum, Cobleskill, New York; Longyear Museum at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York; Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe; Hyde lives and works in Northfield, Minnesota.

Misha Kahn (b. 1989; Duluth, Minnesota) is a New York–based artist and designer who works at the intersection of design and sculpture and is best known for creating whimsical and playful objects made through a variety of materials and array of processes. He has had exhibitions at the Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2022); Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; Museum of Arts and Design, New York City; Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio; and Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco. His work is in the collections of museums such as the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.

Baseera Khan (b. 1980; Denton, Texas) is a New York–based performance, sculpture and installation artist whose work explores materials and their economies and the effects of these relationships upon labor, family structures, religion and spiritual well-being. They held a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, in 2021–22; other institutional exhibitions include Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; New Orleans Museum of Art; SculptureCenter, Queens, New York; and Aspen Art Museum,  Aspen, Colorado. Khan’s performance work has premiered at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Their work is in the public collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

An artist and arts educator in New York City, Clare Kambhu (b. 1988; New York) creates paintings that draw attention to everyday, often overlooked objects, with a recent focus on how these items might reveal the potential for humanity to break the constraints of educational institutions. Her work has been exhibited at the Bronx Museum, New York; Katonah Museum of Art, Westchester, New York; Artspace, New Haven, Connecticut; and A-Museum of Quickroots/Un-Museo de Raices Movedizas, Governors Island, New York, among others. She has been awarded fellowships by apexart, New York City, and The Bronx Museum. Kambhu received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art and a Master of Arts in art education from New York University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale University School of Art.

Working across video, sculpture, photography, performance, web-based experiences and installation, Jillian Mayer (b. 1984; Miami) is a Miami-based artist whose practice explores the intersection of technology and human existence, particularly how people’s participation in a digital landscape reshapes their physical experiences. Her art has been featured in exhibitions internationally at institutions including Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; MoMA PS1, Queens, New York; Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig, Germany, as well as screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival, New York Film Festival and South by Southwest Film Festival. Her work is in the collections of the Pérez Art Museum and Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, among others. Mayer earned a BFA at Florida International University, Miami.

Jennifer Warren (b. 1988; Cleveland, Ohio) is a Chicago-based oil painter whose work explores themes around nature, beauty and the Black body. Largely self-taught, her practice reflects her passion for incorporating new ideas and techniques that aim to convey the lived Black experience through everyday intimate and meditative moments. Warren’s work has been exhibited at the Martin Gallery, Chicago, and Sidney Larson Gallery, Columbia, Missouri, and in the Saatchi Art Virtual exhibition. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and minor in Visual Arts from Eckerd College and attended a painting and drawing program at the Leo Marchutz School of Painting and Drawing in France. She lives and works in Chicago.

Image: Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu welcomes artists Clare Kambhu, Jamaal Barber, Jennifer Warren, Baseera Khan, Misha Kahn and Frank Buffalo Hyde to the Museum’s collection storage during the filming of The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist. Not visible is artist Jillian Mayer. Courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Photo: Shannon Finney