The Hirshhorn is exhibiting Lee Ufan - Open Dimension, now thru September 13, 2020. For the first time, the Hirshhorn's has invited an artist to approach its 4.3-acre Plaza as a unified space. The result is an outdoor exhibition of ten site-responsive sculptures. “Using natural and man-made materials like boulders and stainless steel, the artist has composed each piece in conversation with the Hirshhorn's unique architecture, expanding his Relatum series.” The commission is complimented by an installation of four of Lee’s abstract Dialogue paintings in the third-floor galleries. This is the largest-ever presentation of Lee Ufan’s work in America.
Image below: Lee Ufan hunting for stones on Long Island, NY, for use in Lee Ufan: Open Dimension. Photography by Oresti Tsonopoulos
The Hirshhorn is hosting the largest site-specific exhibition to date by the acclaimed abstract painter Pat Steir, thru September 7, 2020.The exhibition spans the entire perimeter of the museum’s second-floor inner-circle galleries. Twenty-eight large-scale paintings create “an immense color wheel that shifts hues with each painting, with the pours on each canvas often appearing in the complementary hue of the monochrome background.” Steir’s paintings “create a dialogue with the Gordon Bunshaft-designed outdoor fountain and seasonal changes visible through the museum’s windows. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Steir studied art and philosophy at Boston University and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in 1961.
The exhibition is curated by Evelyn C. Hankins, Senior Curator.
Image below: Pat Steir exhibition at the Hirshhorn
The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden is exhibiting Marcel Duchamp: The Barbara and Aaron Levine Collection, thru October 12, 2020. The exhibition features the recent gift of over fifty major historical artworks, including more than thirty-five seminal works by Marcel Duchamp, promised to the museum by the Washington, D.C. collectors. The artworks were acquired over the course of two decades and “offer a rarely seen view of the entire arc of Duchamp’s career. The exhibition showcases a number of Duchamp’s most famous readymades, and his forward-thinking mindset can be seen in his later kinetic works. The exhibition also includes portraits of Duchamp, as well as works by his contemporaries and those he influenced. The exhibition is the first stage of a two-part exhibition on the life and legacy of Duchamp. The second stage of the exhibition will be on view April 18–October 12, 2020, and will examine Duchamp’s lasting impact through the lens of the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection.
Both exhibitions are organized by Evelyn Hankins, the Hirshhorn’s senior curator, and are accompanied by a 224-page publication.
Image below: Marcel Duchamp - Hat Rack (Porte-chapeaux), 1917/1964 Wood hat rack Edition: 5/8 Promised gift of Barbara and Aaron Levine (c) Association Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris/Artists Right Society (ARS), New York 2019
The Hirshhorn is exhibiting a video titled Manifesto: Art x Agency, thru January 5, 2020.German artist Julian Rosefeldt’s epic, multi-channel video work "serves as the centerpiece to a display of works from the Hirshhorn collection highlighting works of art created in response to, or as a part of, artistic manifestos of the past 100 years."
The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden has extended the exhibition of contemporary artist Mark Bradford’s Pickett’s Charge thru 2021. The Los Angeles-based artist’s monumental new commission was inspired by artist Paul Philippoteaux’s nineteenth-century cyclorama in Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. The cyclorama depicts the final charge of the Battle of Gettysburg, which historians cite as “the critical turning point of the Civil War and, consequently, of American history. Working with a combination of colored paper and reproductions of the original, Bradford collages and transforms the historic Gettysburg imagery into a series of eight powerful, abstract paintings.” The exhibition is curated by Evelyn Hankins.
Image below: Mark Bradford in his Los Angeles studio with details of Pickett's Charge, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Agata Gravante.
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announced plans in March, 2019 to move forward with a renovation and redesign of its Sculpture Garden for the first time since the 1980s. The Museum will be working to develop a new concept for the garden with architect/artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, who successfully renovated the Museum's lobby. See the article at the end of this column regarding Sugimoto's redesign of the lobby. The museum's sunken garden, which is adjacent to the National Mall, is barely visible to Mall and museum visitors. Sugimoto’s early concept calls for "an enhanced entrance facing the National Mall, directly engaging the more than 35 million people who pass through each year. " The new garden design envisions spaces for large scale contemporary works and performances, as well as intimate spaces for the museum’s modern masterpieces." The initial concept would include reopening the underground passage which was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft (1909-1990), who designed the Hirshhorn, to connect the garden to the museum plaza. The passage has been closed for 30 years. Dan Sallick, Hirshhorn board chair, commented that “The project would create a ‘front door’ for the Hirshhorn on the National Mall.” Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn, commented that “As both an artist and an architect, Hiroshi Sugimoto brings a unique perspective to his designs and a deep understanding and respect for Gordon Bunshaft’s original vision for the garden.”
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden commissioned acclaimed Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto to transform the museum's lobby, and the new lobby opened in February. The redesign of the space was the first in the museum's 42-year history. The redesign coincides with the opening of a Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato venue in the lobby's east end. The venue is the museum's first permanent food and beverage offering and the only locally owned café at the Smithsonian. The new initiatives are “part of a larger plan to transform the overall museum experience, designed to encourage creativity and foster greater connections between visitors and the artists of the time.”
Images below: Two renderings of the Hirshhorn's lobby designed by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto.