Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Photo by Lee Stalsworth.
April 1, 2014
Total Full-Time Employees: 51
Annual Budget (federal and trust) FY 2014: $8 million
Approximate Number of Artworks: 12,000
Visitors (2013): 645,000
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is one of the world’s leading museums of international modern and contemporary art. Located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Hirshhorn is one of 19 Smithsonian Institution museums. The museum opened Oct. 1, 1974, as a result of the efforts and generosity of American entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899–1981), who donated his collection to the Smithsonian in 1966. Designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, the museum’s elevated circular building has 60,000 square feet of exhibition space inside and nearly four acres outside in its multilevel Sculpture Garden and Plaza.
The permanent collection of roughly 12,000 artworks includes pieces by 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.
In-depth holdings include works by Josef Albers, Francis Bacon, John Baldessari, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Willem de Kooning, Jean Dubuffet, Thomas Eakins, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, Salvatore Scarpitta, David Smith, Clyfford Still and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
An active acquisitions program continually adds work to the 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, Doug Aitken, Lee Bontecou, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Bruce Conner, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Dan Flavin, Douglas Gordon, David Hammons, Mona Hatoum, Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenburg, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Adrian Piper, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo and Rachel Whiteread are represented by major works. In 2007, the addition of works from the Panza Collection by artists including Robert Barry, Hanne Darboven, Hamish Fulton, Robert Irwin, On Kawara and Joseph Kosuth expanded the museum’s holdings of conceptual, minimal, light and space and environmental art.
Recent major exhibitions are “Damage Control: Art and Destruction Since 1950,” “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” “Doug Aitken: SONG 1,” “Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers,” “Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection” and “Louise Bourgeois.”
Two distinctive series—“Directions,” which explores new work by emerging and established artists, and “Black Box,” which presents recent moving-image works by a diverse range of emerging international artists—exemplify the Hirshhorn’s commitment to bringing the newest and best in contemporary art to the public. Recent “Directions” exhibitions have featured Jeremy Deller, Jennie C. Jones, Grazia Toderi, Cyprien Gaillard and Mario Garcia Torres, and Pipilotti Rist. Works by Santiago Sierra and Jorge Galindo, DEMOCRACIA, Ali Kazma, Nira Pereg, Hans Op de Beeck and SUPERFLEX have been presented recently in the Black Box space.
The Hirshhorn’s innovative line-up of programs provides the opportunity to acquire further insight into exhibitions and art-related issues. Program highlights are the Meet the Artist lectures, with speakers such as Jake Chapman, Ann Hamilton, Christo, Barbara Kruger and Vito Acconci; Friday Gallery Talks; and the annual James T. Demetrion Lecture, which has featured speakers such as Jeff Koons, Doug Aitken, Marina Abramović and Simon Schama. Education initiatives include ARTLAB+, a participatory learning program for local teens, with working artists serving as mentors, and ARTWORKS, a series of workshops for teachers and school groups. The world-renowned Hirshhorn film program—one of the first in the United States to focus on independent cinema—offers narrative and experimental features, documentaries and shorts. Held in the 272-seat Gustave and Marion Ring Auditorium, the program is noted for screening films by and about artists and presenting world premieres.
About the Museum
The museum is open daily (except Dec. 25) from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The plaza and Sculpture Garden open at 7:30 a.m., with the plaza closing at 5:30 p.m. and the Sculpture Garden closing at dusk. The Hirshhorn is located along the south side of the National Mall, at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W. The museum entrance is on Independence Avenue and the Sculpture Garden may be accessed from the Mall and Jefferson Drive. The nearest Metrorail stop is L’Enfant Plaza on the Green, Yellow, Blue and Orange lines (Maryland Avenue exit).
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