Monday, November 17, 2008

"Directions-Terence Gower, Public Spirit"

November 5, 2008 to March 22, 2009

The Canadian artist considers a little-known period in the history of founding-donor Joseph H. Hirshhorn’s quest to find a home for his collection. Gower’s research-based multimedia installation reveals Hirshhorn’s plan in the 1950s to build a town with art and culture at its core in the wilderness of Ontario, Canada. The original designs for the community were never realized, thus Hirshhorn was compelled to continue his pursuit of a permanent home for his art.

Based on materials uncovered by Gower as a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow in 2007, the project presents an animated video “tour” of the town, aluminum sculptures derived from original models of the museum and office tower buildings and an installation of four cases of archival materials. The cases feature a number of materials Gower discovered during his research, texts written by the artist and a selection of works on paper from the Hirshhorn’s collection dating from the 1930s to 1950s by artists such as Man Ray, Josef Albers, Irene Rice Pereira and Victor Vasarely. These are works that might have been included in an inaugural exhibition at the museum had Hirshhorn, Ontario, been realized.

The “Directions” series highlights the vitality, diversity and inventiveness that characterizes contemporary art. It has brought new work by emerging and established artists to Washington, D.C., since 1987. This exhibition is made possible in part by Trellis Fund and the Peter Norton Family Foundation and is organized by Hirshhorn curator Anne Ellegood.

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