Hirshhorn Museum: Beliefs, Dogs and Hangers Wow the Senses

I never thought that Malcolm X and I would have much in common until I paid a visit to the lower level of DC’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. There, on a wall, in big, bold letters is his quote, “Give your brains as much attention as you do your hair and you’ll be a thousand times better off.” Wow! That sums me up in a nutshell. This quote is part of a remarkable exhibit, “Belief + Doubt,” by artist Barbara Kruger. Phrases in caps are mounted all over the lower level lobby—walls, doors, escalators, floors and bookstore. Made out of vinyl, the quotes are in black, white and red and come in a variety of sizes. They speak to our assumptions and doubts, magnified to the nth degree. The exhibit is really a feast for your eyes and brains and is on display through 2014.Belief

From the “Belief” area I ventured to other parts of the museum. A trip to the second floor, right off the escalator, brought me face to face with Dan Steinhilber’s white hanger sculpture—a virtual forest of hangers.  Part of the “Over Under Next” display, I don’t know why, but I found this display absolutely fascinating. It stopped me dead in my tracks. This exhibit runs through September 8.hangers (3)

Through his “Here and There” exhibit, Peter Coffin has a variety of artistic works on display, but for me nothing tops or will ever top his massive, creepy dog sculpture. This untitled work of art is mammoth and sinister looking. The canine’s blue eyes against its brown “skin” are very “Cujo”-like eerie. They seem to stare into one’s very soul.  And don’t get me started on the pointy ears. You want to touch this piece just to be sure it’s only art. But rules aside, you fear one touch would make it spring to life and devour you immediately. Coffin’s exhibit is on display until October 6.Peter Coffin's Untitled Dog

There’s nothing staid or old-fashion about the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. You discover something new every time you go inside. If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for? If you have taken a tour, perhaps it’s time for a return visit.

The Hirshhorn is located on the National Mall at the corner of 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Admission is free.


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