The Hirshhorn is Back!

The Hirshhorn is back!

Not that it formally went anywhere, but the third floor has been closed for renovations for the better part of a year and the previous second floor exhibit erred on the side of eerie and inappropriate for a younger audience. As of October 16th, all that has changed, with two new exhibitions opening up.

On the third floor is At The Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection. As the name suggests, all the pieces on display are part of the Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, and likely will stick around for a while.  The circular path of galleries is rich with color, shape, texture, and a play of lights. Though the star, by far, is Ernesto Neto’s The Dangerous Logic of Wooing.

This piece is constructed from loose lycra filled with Styrofoam and rice, suspended from the ceiling. There are endless interpretations of the shapes, wonderful paths to weave under and through, gigantic shadows to track, and the intrigue of light and sound gobbled up by the art. Keeping hands off the inviting, low hanging orbs will be a challenge. But with a little preparation, it’s nothing that panty-house filled with rice can’t fix. Bringing in hands-on objects from home can enhance any trip to the museum, and this sensory object will be a hit with kids and guards alike.

On the second floor, Days of Endless Time is a temporary installation of fourteen moving-media pieces. This is a collection of calming, and playful videos, loops, and projections. Room after room I stood mesmerized, and for albeit shorter time, kids will too. There are four highlights as you make the loop. Staging Silence, shown in the first mini-theater space evokes doll house play, construction, symmetry, and light and dark.

Playing Dead, Real Time fills a room with multiple screens and views of an elephant performing the titular circus trick. Entering the gallery with Shadow Play, is like walking into Santa’s workshop. Toys whirling on turn tables are projected larger-than-life on the walls via dancing shadows. Horizontal projects a giant spruce tree waving in the wind on its side, filling a movie-theater sized screen.

Days of Endless Time is a hypnotic collection of fun and simple images that all audiences can relate to. The spaces are vast, stroller and kid friendly, the subjects are open for discussion, welcoming to read a book in front of, or just plop down on the floor. And for the excellent price of free, you can enjoy this exhibition time after time through April 2015.

Please note: to avoid explicit nudity, pass over the second to last gallery on the 3rd floor, and the second to first gallery on the 2nd floor.


by Sara CardelloMuseum and Community Resource Specialist

The Smithsonian Early Enrichment houses a lab school for the Smithsonian serving children aged 3 months to 6 years. SEEC also offers weekend workshops for families with young children. Come learn, explore and play with us!

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