Aug. 12, 2020
Hirshhorn To Reopen Its Sculpture Garden Aug. 17
Two Newly Acquired Monumental Sculptures by Huma Bhabha and Sterling Ruby on Display
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will reopen its outdoor sculpture garden to the public Monday, Aug. 17, marking the Washington, D.C., debut of two major outdoor sculptures by contemporary artists Huma Bhabha and Sterling Ruby. The new acquisitions join an array of more than 30 modern and contemporary works of art on display in the garden, which visitors will be able to enjoy with new health and safety measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum’s building and outdoor plaza remain temporarily closed to the public.
This reopening will take place as the Hirshhorn continues the public consultation process for a revitalization of its sculpture garden. Working with artist and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto, the museum undertakes this civic project to repair damaged infrastructure and create a universally accessible and dynamic space to serve a growing audience. This includes improvements to visitor amenities and more flexible exhibition spaces to provide a greater variety of programming, including performance art and large-scale new sculptural commissions, alongside intimate areas for the museum’s modern masterpieces.
“We are thrilled to welcome visitors back into our sculpture garden, a safe summer respite,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “Our mission is to open the museum up to share the art of our time with as many people as possible. The reopening of our garden is one step closer to this ongoing objective, culminating in the garden’s redesign.”
Located on the National Mall, across from the Hirshhorn’s drum-shaped building, the 1.5-acre sculpture garden offers visitors a retreat in the heart of the nation’s capital. Visitors will be drawn into the newly reopened sculpture garden by Bhabha’s “We Come in Peace” (2018), a monumental sculpture standing more than 12 feet tall, greeting viewers at the garden’s Mall-side entrance. Ruby’s “DOUBLE CANDLE” towers at over 24 feet, located at the heart of the garden by the reflecting pool. “I am incredibly honored to have ‘DOUBLE CANDLE’ installed at the sculpture garden on the National Mall,” said Ruby. “The candles are simultaneously identifiable and abstract, holding a multitude of meanings and emotions. They stand for loss as well as love, they celebrate light and the eternal, while motioning towards an expiration. The placement of ‘DOUBLE CANDLE’ behind a reflecting pool creates space for a mirroring that extends the meaning of the work.”
Both artworks will soon be activated by Hirshhorn Eye (Hi), the museum’s free mobile video guide, along with Jeff Koons’ “Kiepenkerl.”
The sculpture garden will be open 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily. To protect the health of visitors and staff, new safety measures based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources will include:
- Requesting all visitors who are sick or do not feel well stay home.
- Requiring visitors ages six and older wear face coverings during their visit. Face coverings are also strongly recommended for visitors ages two-six, per CDC guidelines.
- Daily monitoring to maintain a safe garden capacity. Entry may be suspended momentarily when maximum capacity is reached.
- Implementing safe social distancing, including some one-way paths and directional guidance where appropriate.
- Providing hand-sanitizing stations for visitors and conducting enhanced cleaning throughout the garden.
For more information about what to expect when visiting go to hirshhorn.si.edu.
While the museum and plaza remain temporarily closed, audiences can still visit the Hirshhorn virtually with #HirshhornInsideOut, an ongoing effort to share the Hirshhorn’s artworks, expertise and public programing online.
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 American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Images: “We Come in Peace” by Huma Bhabha; “DOUBLE CANDLE” by Sterling Ruby. Photos by William Andrews.