Posts tagged with "Hirshhorn Museum":

Placeholder Alt Text

Artist to transform Hirshhorn Museum into responsive experiences

A new exhibition will bring the immersive environments of Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse will present several of the artist's responsive artworks that use biometric sensors to modulate visual and sonic effects. The works play with the growing ubiquity of public surveillance, frequently used to monitor and control large populations, a topic that designers and artists are increasingly exploring for its ethical and aesthetic implications. Lozano-Hemmer's works in the show record data like heartbeats and fingerprints from visitors and volunteers and translate that information into the gentle pulsing of a field of light bulbs, a projected grid of skin, or waves in a pool of water. The works play with the way sensors can transform biological phenomena into ephemeral robotic effects, in the process dehumanizing the lived experience. Rather than focusing on the political implications of big data collection, the works instead suggest that there might be something beautiful in the role of sensor technology in modern life and that people should feel empowered to assert control over when and how they give their information. The show opens on November 1 and will run through April 28, 2019. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Pulse  Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Independence Avenue and 7th St Washington, D.C. 20560 Free admission
Placeholder Alt Text

Hirshhorn sculpture garden will be dedicated entirely to works by Lee Ufan

Washington D.C's Hirshhorn Museum has announced a site-specific commission for the Korean artist Lee Ufan that will debut in fall 2019. Approximately ten new sculptures related to the artist’s “Relatum” series will be installed across the museum’s 4.3-acre sculpture garden. An exhibit of Lee’s abstract painting within the museum will accompany the outdoor installation. This is the first time in the institution’s half-century history that its sculpture garden will be dedicated entirely to a single artist. A founder of Japan’s Mono-ha, or "School of Things" movement, Lee’s work emphasizes the relationship between site, materials and the viewer. This holistic treatment of artistic elements appeals to a contemplative and dynamic engagement with the work rather than static perception. The poignancy of Lee’s work derives from the thoughtful assembly of contrasting materials, which are subject to minimal alteration. Lee, who lives in Kamakura, Japan and Paris, will spend the next year conducting site visits to the Hirshhorn Museum. Additionally, Lee will visit individual quarries across the East Coast to source local materials to construct his work. Each sculpture constructed for the installation will relate to the museum’s unique circular form, allowing visitors multiple vantage points from above to view Lee’s work in the plaza below. While the installation will be Lee Ufan's first exhibition on the National Mall, the artist has conducted over 140 one-artist exhibits across the globe. These stand-alone works include 'Resonance' at the 2007 Venice Biennale, a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 2011, and a sprawling display of sculptural works on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hiroshi Sugimoto completes spiral-based lobby revamp for the Hirshhorn Museum

The renovation of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. by Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto has been completed only two months after renderings were first revealed for the project. The lobby’s light new look not only pays homage to the curved Gordon Bunshaft-designed museum housing it but will also introduce a serpentine café when it opens to the public on February 23. Sugimoto and his Tokyo-based architectural firm, New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), drew inspiration from the clash between the uneven swirls of the natural world and the mathematically perfect (and unnatural) roundness of the Hirshhorn. As previously reported, Sugimoto had discussed transplanting the roots of a 700-year-old Japanese nutmeg tree into the lobby, and he made good on his promise by turning the root bundle into a twin set of glass-topped tables. The effect is quite striking, as the chaotic branches have been trimmed down, cut in half, and trapped under a sheet of manmade material. “Looking deeper into the roots, I became equally delighted by the randomness of the lines, drawn by nature. There are no perfectly round circles or perfectly straight lines,” said Sugimoto in a statement. “I found it fitting to place one of nature’s circles inside this manufactured one so that we might compare the two: notional shapes and natural shapes.” The lobby’s white chairs also reference natural spirals in their design, with their backs twisting as they rise, resembling the helical curve of DNA strands. Brushed brass benches with legs made of optical glass blocks, referencing Sugimoto’s storied photography career, have been installed throughout the space. The largest change to the lobby has been the removal of a dark film over the 3,300 square feet of curvilinear windows, which has allowed natural light to flood the space, and the installation of Your oceanic feeling (2015), a swirling light sculpture by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson that hangs from the ceiling. While the Hirshhorn had held a special preview event of the space last week, the lobby will officially open to the public on February 23, 2018. Visitors will be able to check out the new Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato café, a 20-foot long coffee bar clad in diamond-shaped tin and brushed-brass plates that resembles serpent scales. Guests can also view a video preview of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000 before the projection is once again displayed on the museum’s exterior.
Placeholder Alt Text

[UPDATED] Hirshhorn Museum reschedules Wodiczko’s massive gun projection for March

After a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. announced that it would be rescheduling the projection of Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000 scheduled to take place on February 14 and 15. The 30-foot-tall, 68-foot-wide piece would have been projected across the museum’s curved façade, and features a hand holding a gun on one side, and a hand holding a lit vigil candle on the other. Wodiczko’s site-specific work was originally displayed at the museum in 1988 from October 25 to 27, and touched on the death penalty, reproductive rights and the media’s role in providing partisan voices for both sides of these issues. The installation’s return on February 14 and 15 would have coincided with the launch of Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s, a retrospective examining the intersection of the art world and marketing in the ‘80s, and the launch of the newly revamped lobby. After postponing the projection, the museum has rescheduled the projection's run for Wednesday, March 7, through Friday, March 9, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The museum will remain open until 9:30 p.m. on those nights as well. In announcing the postponement, Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu said in a statement,“Now is a time for mourning and reflection, and out of sensitivity to our community in D.C. and beyond, the Hirshhorn, Smithsonian leadership and artist Krzysztof Wodiczko have made the decision to postpone the artist’s projection, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. We remain committed to exhibiting this important work, which is still relevant today—30 years following its original showing. We look forward to restaging the work in its original format at a later date.” Gun control advocates took to Twitter after the postponement was announced to express their disappointment, with many of them stating that Wodiczko’s work has only been made more poignant and urgent in the wake of another mass shooting. The decision to postpone the showing was made in agreement with Wodiczko, although a taped version of the piece was available in the lobby for that time instead.
Placeholder Alt Text

BIG reveals sweeping changes to Smithsonian campus master plan

After facing criticism over an initial 2014 master plan for renovating the historic southern campus of the Smithsonian Institute, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed a sweeping overhaul of its original design. The firm presented their new scheme in front of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), a federal agency responsible for reviewing design proposals in Washington D.C., and were told to go back to the drawing board. The Smithsonian Institute’s southern campus runs alongside D.C.’s National Mall, one of the most iconic stretches of park in the country. Any changes to the surrounding landscape, especially when it involves renovating the Smithsonian’s Castle, which opened in 1855, and the adjacent four-acre Enid A. Haupt Garden, were bound to be controversial. The largest addition, and the one that drew the most ire from preservationists, would have replaced the roof of the sunken Quadrangle Building under the Haupt Garden with a glassy, upswept volume, and built a new subterranean auditorium, gallery space, café, and store. Bjarke Ingels was on hand to personally present the “Smithsonian's Preferred Alternative F” to the CFA yesterday. Among the biggest changes to the original scheme was the toning down of the buried gallery’s corners, so that a new Haupt Garden could be built on top of the space. A sloping entrance to the Castle had been included in the original plan, but was left out of this revision, although the underground space will still be ringed with skylights at the ground level. The entrance to the Castle would be moved closer to the Mall, and Ingels stressed that the new garden topping the Quadrangle building would retain “the character and feel” of the Haupt. He defended the new roof's design, saying "we also want to make more accessible some of the hidden treasures underneath the Haupt Garden – the National Museum of African Art and the Sackler Gallery – which are so well hidden that they’re under-enjoyed compared to the value they represent. If we can make them more accessible, more people might be tempted to explore." The Hirshhorn Museum, which also sits on the campus, will expand underground as well, although plans to remove the walls enclosing the site have been scrapped. Community input over the original design has reportedly played a large part in the new design. The CFA took umbrage with the plan’s demolition of the existing garden and entrances, as well as BIG’s lack of use for the existing Arts and Industries Building on the campus. Some of the commissioners in attendance were particularly harsh. “This is a redesign,” said Elizabeth Meyer. “It has nothing to do with preservation and it’s not good design.” Ultimately the CFA took no action, and told BIG to come back with alternative schemes and more information at a later date. Regardless of the final design, the southern campus will need extensive renovations. The initial 2012 existing conditions survey discovered that all of the buildings on the campus are in need of a mechanical systems upgrade, that the roof of the current Quadrangle building leaks, and that the Castle needs to be better protected against seismic events. The first stage of the $2 billion plan, the renovation of the Castle, is expected to begin in 2021, and the entire campus renovation should finish in 2041.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hiroshi Sugimoto reveals renderings for renovated Hirshhorn Museum lobby

Artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has been selected to redesign the lobby of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the first time the space has been touched in the museum’s 42-year history. The Tokyo-born artist, along with his Tokyo-based architectural firm, New Material Research Laboratory (NMRL), will be responsible for not only designing sculptures and furniture for the lobby of the Gordon Bunshaft-designed museum, but the new café in the lobby’s east end as well. Seeking to reference the round form of the Hishhorn building, Sugimoto drew inspiration for the furnishings from the roots of a 700-year old Japanese nutmeg tree. The imagery of twisted, chaotic roots will be reflected in the lobby’s central group table, and the spiraling chairs surrounding it. "I became fascinated by the roots of an enormous tree, which fanned out to form a large circle, and I decided that this was the circle I would install in the Hirshhorn lobby - a symbol of life," said Sugimoto. "All art takes its inspiration from the power inherent in nature, and my hope is that as visitors enter the museum, they will experience the balance of the man-made and natural circles." Sugimoto will be leaving Bunshaft’s original terrazzo floors, deeply coffered ceiling and exposed aggregate walls, but the artist removed the dark film that covers the lobby’s 3,300-square feet of windows, and opened the space up to views of the National Mall. The rotunda will also see new signage and welcome desks, in addition to the installation of Your oceanic feeling (2015), a swirling light sculpture by Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The lobby’s renovation will coincide with the opening of Dolcezza Coffee & Gelato at Hirshhorn, and Sugimoto has designed a 20-foot long, serpentine coffee bar plated in diamond-shape brass and tin plates. The Hirshhorn and Sugimoto have a long history together, as in 2006 the museum was the first institution to present a career survey of Sugimoto’s work. The new lobby, and Dolcezza, will formally open to the public in February 2018.
Placeholder Alt Text

Ai Weiwei is using LEGOs to represent activists at the Hirshhorn Museum

Ever placed the sole of your bare foot onto a piece of LEGO left on the floor? If you have, you know the and sheer pain and annoyance at 1) How such a harmless looking single brick could cause so much pain and 2) Why it was there in the first place. If one floor-bound LEGO brick is enough to cause you such discomfort, then prepare to be triggered at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., where hundreds of thousands of bricks, courtesy of Ai Weiwei, will be laid on the floor to form portraits. These are not just any old pieces of portraiture, though. In Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn, the Chinese artist has chosen to represent activists. Perhaps this is fitting. Activists, to those in power, can be as aggravating as treading on a piece of LEGO. Collectively, they are more daunting—as daunting as say, walking across an entire floor of jagged LEGO. Within the circular museum, 176 portraits all comprised of LEGO and assembled by hand populate the museum's second floor, spanning 700 feet. Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn will fill the entirety of the second-floor galleries and also feature two graphic wallpapers, one of which is being exhibited for the first time. This debuting artwork is titled The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama but is Really an Alpaca and will cover the outer wall of the Hirshhorn's second floor. The piece includes images of surveillance and is a monochrome take on Ai's The Animal That Looks Like a Llama but is Really an Alpaca which itself will be found in the lobby of the same floor. This will be the first time Ai's Trace has been shown on the East Coast. Trace was first commissioned in 2014, opening at Alcatraz in San Francisco as a collaboration between the nonprofit FOR-SITE Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate Park Conservancy. The exhibition and artwork featured derives from Ai's treatment by the Chinese government stemming back to 2011 when he was incarcerated, interrogated and tracked by authorities for 81 days. In addition to this, Ai was also banned from exiting China until two years ago. Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn will be on view from June 28 through January 1, 2018. The evening before the exhibition's opening, Ai will give the annual James T. Demetrion Lecture in the Hirshhorn’s Ring Auditorium marking his first appearance in the city. In 2012, the museum ran a retrospective of the artist's work, the first in the U.S., alas, Ai was prohibited from attending. Free tickets for the lecture will be released online on June 19. More details can be found on the museum website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hirshhorn Museum Abandons DS+R’s Bubble Project, Director Resigns

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Wahington D.C., designed by SOM in 1974, is undeniably striking in its design—the distinctively cylinder shaped structure is unlike anything else in the city. In 2009 Richard Koshalek, director of the modern and contemporary art museum, in a bold effort to place the museum at the forefront of our nation’s cultural institutions, came up with a radical new plan that would make the building stand out even more among the countries’ leading museums and significantly augment the city's arts culture. Koshalek proposed his new vision for a 15-story inflatable balloon, designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, that would bubble out of the donut-shaped museum’s central courtyard twice a year. The project, dubbed the “Seasonal Inflatable Structure,” would serve as a unique space for installations and performances. The idea was never realized, and as of this June the project was abandoned. Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian's undersecretary for history, art, and culture, attributes the desertion of the project to financial challenges. The construction of the bubble relied solely on private funds, but donors prefer contributing money to a permanent structure rather than a temporary project, and after four years of fundraising, more than half of the necessary $15 million funds were lacking. The Smithsonian’s decision to terminate the project was not supported by all, however, and resulted in a sort of domino effect of negative outcomes. Immediately following the decision to terminate Koshalek resigned as director and Constance R. Caplan stepped down as board chairwoman, but not before delivering a harsh critique of the museum and the Smithsonian Institute’s power over the board. As reported by the New York Times, Ms. Caplan said, “When you ask people to raise money you have to give them more of a say in what happens at the institution.” Since members must donate $50,000 upon joining the board and are also expected to actively raise funds, she holds that they should have more power when making decisions about the museum. Mr. Koshalek advocates that the future success of the museum relies on the use of novel technologies and creative programming, but others, such as 13-year board veteran and former chairman J. Tomilson Hill feel strongly that projects like the bubble will take away from the museum’s impressive collections and exhibitions, which should remain the institution's focus. The Hirshhorn is home to modern and contemporary works by renowned leaders of 20th century art and sculpture including including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworht Kelly, Edward Hopper, to name only a few. On June 29th Koshalek officially stepped down as director, but it seems like his forward thinking may prevail after all. Kerry Brougher, chief curator, has temporarily taken Mr. Koshalek’s place. At the moment Brougher’s primary concerns are the collections and exhibitions, but he shares Mr. Koshalek’s opinion that digital technologies, public programming, and thematic exhibitions will be instrumental to The Hirshhorn's future.