Tag Archives: Smithsonian

Orchids: A Moment

IMG_9989.jpgThe Hirshhorn Museum of Art had an interesting exhibition on view last month. Surprisingly it was not an art exhibition. Instead it was a showcase of orchids. The Smithsonian Gardens Orchid Collection contains over 8,000 different types of orchids, a selection of which were exhibited. A grid wall display contained niches to hold the orchid vases and tv screens displayed time-lapse videos of orchids blooming.

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Man with a Briefcase

IMG_9810.jpgMan with a Briefcase // Jonathan Borofsky // COR-TEN steel // 1979-1988

A colossal statue of a 27 foot tall man sporting a hat and carrying a briefcase is located outside the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. This figure resembles the classic image of a typical salesman, walking door to door. This subject is a reoccurring theme by Borofsky, seen in other large scale statues in cities such as Forth Worth, TX and Minneapolis, MN. This particular statue is a newly acquired work by SAAM.

Our View From Here

IMG_0085Our View From Here // Linn Meyer

Swirling on the second floor of the Hirshhorn Museum is the site-specific drawing “Our View from Here” by Linn Meyer.  For this piece Meyer drew directly onto the wall of the gallery, creating a total of 400 linear feet. As visitors walk around the gallery their perspective of the work changes, the drawing spirals and twirls around the circular gallery space. Interested in seeing Meyer’s drawing process? Check out this time-lapse of her working: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYPwZv2Ul0M

IMG_0086Our View From Here // Linn Meyer

Belief + Doubt

IMG_0009.jpgBelief + Doubt // Barbara Kruger // vinyl // 2012

Perhaps one of the most photographed works at the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C. is Barbara Kruger’s “Belief + Doubt.” Sprawling across the floor, walls and escalators on the museum’s bottom level are white block vinyl letters of phrases. My favorite phrase is located on the wall above a doorway and is by Malcolm X: “Give your brain as much attention as you do your hair and you’ll be a thousand times better off.” The title is inspired by the text on the back wall: “Belief + Doubt = Sanity.” This site specific installation encourages viewers to explore belief and doubt in their everyday life through Kruger’s carefully chosen words, questions and sentences.

IMG_9998.jpgBelief + Doubt // Barbara Kruger // vinyl // 2012

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Belief + Doubt // Barbara Kruger // vinyl // 2012

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Belief + Doubt // Barbara Kruger // vinyl // 2012

Smithsonian American Art Museum

IMG_9862.jpgElectronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii // Nam June Paik // forty-nine-channel closed-circuit video installation, neon, steel & electronic components

Located in the heart of our nation’s capital is an art museum dedicated to acquiring and exhibiting American art. Known as SAAM, the Smithsonian American Art Museum has an extensive collection of works including early America, the 19th and 20th centuries and portraiture, to name a few. Here are a few that caught my eye.

IMG_9884.jpgSnails Space with Vari-Lites, “Painting as Performance” // David Hockney // oil & acrylic on canvas with Vari Lights // 1995-1996

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Drag-on // Karin Davie // oil on canvas // 1999

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Sculpture Group Symbolizing World’s Communication in the Atomic Age // Harry Bertoia // brazed & welded brass & bronze // 1959

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Nenuphar // Alexander Calder // sheet steel // 1968

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William Jefferson Clinton (Forty-second president) // Chuck Close // oil on canvas // 2006

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Tableau Noir // Alexander Calder // painted steel // 1970 // 140 x 145 x 140 in

The Abstract Flag

IMG_9816Upon entering the American History Museum in Washington D.C. you are confronted with a 40 foot long flag. Known as “The Abstract Flag,” this piece hangs on the wall directly outside the room in which The Star Spangled Banner flag is displayed. The location of the work serves to inspire future endeavors. Consisting of 960 pixels of mirrored polycarbonate, “The Abstract Flag’s” metallic surface reflects light in a fashion to resemble movement, or the flag waving.

Kusama Infinity Mirrors

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Known for her obsession with polka dots and her infinity rooms, Yayoi Kusama has become one of the most influential and prominent artists in today’s art world. Currently there is a retrospective of her work in the Hirshhorn Museum, which includes works such as Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field and her iconic pumpkin pieces such as the sculpture Pumpkin. Not going to be in DC? Don’t worry. The show will be traveling to five other museums in the US and Canada: The Seattle Art Museum, The Broad, Art Gallery of Ontario, Cleveland Museum of Art and the High Museum of Art.

IMG_0095.jpgPumpkin // Yayoi Kunama // fiber-reinforced plastic // 2016

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Hirshhorn

IMG_0102.jpgAs one of the many museums located on the National Mall, the Smithsonian’s Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden showcases masterpieces of modern and contemporary art. The circular building, which includes an interior courtyard, was designed by the famed architect Gordon Bunshaft. With artists ranging from Ron Mueck, Hamish Fulton and Ed Ruscha, these were a few of my favorites.

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IMG_0016Untitled (Big Man) // Ron Mueck // pigmented polyester resin on fiberglass // 2000

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Bust of Diego on a Stele II // Alberto Giacometti // bronze // 1958

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Woman // Willem de Kooning // oil paint on wood // 1965

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Window // Gerhard Richter // oil paint on canvas // 1968

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Moonrise Kent England, 30 September 1985 // Hamish Fulton // paint and vinyl on wall // 1985

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From Continent to Continent // Mario Merz // steel, glass, neon, clay & metal cables // 1985

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The Los Angeles County Museum on Fire // Ed Ruscha // oil paint on canvas // 1965-1968

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Fish // Alexander Calder // metal, paint, wire, plastic, wood, glass & ceramic // 1944

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Untitled // Jannis Kounellis // stone & plaster fragments // 1980

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Untitled // Robert Gober // plywood, iron, plaster, latex, paint & lights // 2003

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Still Life with Spirit and Xitle // Jimmie Durham // car, volcanic stone & acrylic paint // 2007

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A Marvelous Collage

JPEG image-020B4FF9E102-1Photographs by Erin Fong

Have you always liked adding eyes to inanimate objects or pinning mustaches to faces? At the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC you can become a Surrealist artist and leave your mark on the interactive collage wall! Along one wall in the museum is the Collage: Make a Surrealist Composition. People of all ages are invited to use the magnetic images of eyes, mustaches, hats etc. and add them to the wall. Together a new work of art will be created.

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The Healer

JPEG image-1C1198CD48FC-1The Healer // René Magritte // 1967 // bronze // photograph by Erin Fong

Known for his witty and unusual juxtapositions, René Magritte was a famed sculptor and painter in the Surrealist movement. In his bronze sculpture of The Healer [which is currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC], you can see a man sitting with a cloak, cane and top hat. But where is his head? Instead of a face Magritte placed a bird cage with two birds. What do the birds symbolize? I am not sure. Do you have any ideas?