Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden / by Todd Henson

Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, side facing the National Mall

My brother and I recently visited the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden along the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Hirshhorn is the Smithsonian museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art and culture. Outside, between the museum and the National Mall, is their sculpture garden containing a wide range of sculptures, two of which I photographed. Inside is the museum, which contains several floors of artwork.

The main exhibit when we visited was a collection of Infinity Mirrors by Yayoi Kusama. This was popular enough it required (free) timed passes in advance, and they had already run out for the day. So we missed the Infinity Mirrors exhibit this time around, though I would still like to see it.

I think I still have a lot of room to grow and learn as an artist, and the Hirshhorn is a perfect reminder of that. There were many pieces of art I just didn’t get. I’m not nearly as drawn to much of the modern art out there as I am to the more traditional pieces you can find in the National Gallery of Art. But I do try to expose myself to all forms of art, both to learn from them and to try to appreciate them.

Voltri XV steel sculpture by David Smith in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Sphere No. 6 bronze sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Untitled (Big Man) sculpture by Ron Meuck in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum

I’ve included a small sampling of some of the pieces I found interesting. I really enjoyed the sculpture garden. I like the Japanese feel to David Smith’s Voltri XV steel sculpture. And I was fascinated by the detail in Arnaldo Pomodoro’s bronze sculpture, Sphere No. 6.

In the museum one of the very first pieces we viewed was Ron Mueck’s untitled sculpture of a Big Man, and it is a Big Man. There’s really nothing in the photograph to give scale to the sculpture. I should have zoomed out to show the sculpture in the context of the museum room it was in, but didn’t think of it. I was amazed at the detail of the piece. It very much looked alive.

One room we entered was completely dark, and on the far wall was a painting by Hamish Fulton titled Moonrise Kent England, 30 September 1985. As you can see the painting is of a full moon (a white circle) in a dark sky (a black wall).

Moonrise Kent England, 30 September 1985, painting by Hamish Fulton in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum

One of my favorite exhibits this trip was in the inner hallway, which is a circular hallway facing the inner courtyard. The piece was titled World Time Clock by Bettina Pousttchi, and was a series of twenty-four photographs of clocks from twenty-four different time zones around the world. Each clock face has a different look, but all the photographs were created at the same local time, 1:55 PM.

World Time Clock by Bettina Pousttchi in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum

World Time Clock by Bettina Pousttchi in the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum

I would certainly recommend the Hirshhorn to anyone who hasn’t visited, especially if you enjoy modern art. The exhibits change over time, so there should almost always be something new to see. I look forward to returning in the future. Let me know if you’ve ever visited the Hirshhorn and what your experiences were.