Can I Just Live In The Hirshhorn?

Can I Just Live In The Hirshhorn?

On the first Friday in D.C. I had to attend the Advocacy, Service, and Arts (ASA) program orientation, which basically consisted of finding out which other TWC interns were in the ASA program. We also heard from our program advisor Jacob Wilson -- who is awesome by the way -- about the different expectations for the summer (and to get our business cards... proof that we are legit businessmen/women).

 

Yea, I was pretty excited when I got these. Now I can say "Oh, let me give you my card."


But after the main orientation was complete we reached the adventure component of it all, which was to travel to the Hirshhorn Museum and explore. I had to clue exactly what kind of museum the Hirshhorn was, I figured it was just like any other art museum... filled with art. Oh, but the Hirshhorn proved me COMPLETELY wrong... let's just say that the minute I walked into the Hirshhorn and was greeted by the first installation piece, I was in love.

 

Alright, now I wouldn't exactly want to live in the Hirshhorn but I do feel that if given the option, I could stay in there all day and never get bored. This is particularly true with one piece in particular, which was located within the Over Under Next: Experiments In Mixed Media 1913- Present exhibition. It was entitled "palimpsest" and created by Ann Hamilton in collaboration with Kathryn Clark. I'm always amazed at how one piece of artwork can extract a variety of emotions at one time. This particular piece was made up of an entire room; the walls in the room were covered from top to bottom with notepad sized pieces of paper which contained writing on every single piece.

 

The "palimpsest"

 

There was a fan that circulated around the room which allowed the paper to flutter.

 

There had to have been thousands of pieces of paper in that room. Before I could even step foot inside, I had to either put protective covering around my shoes or go barefoot (I chose the latter because it's just second nature for me to go barefoot). This is one of the amazing things about the "palimpsest" because on the floor you could see it was covered in wax -- beeswax to be exact -- and underneath that wax was even more of those exact same pieces of paper that covered the walls. We were required to not have our shoes on in order to maintain the integrity of the wax.

 

This is what the floor of the "palimpsest" looked like... it's amazing, right?!

 

Walking around I began reading as many of these pieces of paper as I could, some of which were excerpts from novels, quotations from authors, or even just words of advice or encouragement. I probably spent 15-20 minutes in this room reading, looking in awe, and absorbing all that these little pieces of paper had to offer. I'm sure I would have spent more time if I had a ladder to reach the pieces of paper that were too far up for me to read.

 

Just one of many pieces of wisdom.

 

As I continued reading I noticed myself feeling as if I was meant to be there at that very moment. I became grateful for this opportunity to not only have the chance to be in this museum and appreciate all of the hard work and dedication displayed, but also to be here in D.C. and have the chance to expand my horizons and see what else there is -- academically, professionally, and on a personal level as well. One of the things that Jacob said to us during the program orientation was to be a sponge: to soak up as much of the city and this experience as possible and to try and reflect on our experiences. I felt that this piece summed up his words in so many ways.

 

I know that this will not be the only museum I see and that there will be many other things that happen this summer that will elicit a response from me (which I will be sharing of course) but I am glad that the Hirshhorn was the place where I had this humbling and eye-opening experience. For me the Hirshhorn was, like D.C., a place where everything is left up to the eyes of the interpreter and everything is what you make it. With that being said, I plan on making the most of everything while I'm here.

 

See ya next post!

 

P.S. As I was walking through the Hirshhorn and from a distance I saw a painting and I thought to myself "that looks a lot like 'Flowers' by Andy Warhol," so I went (speed walked) over to it and was completely amazed that it was the actual painting! I was standing in front of one of my favorite paintings; I felt like I had just met a celebrity as I stood there grinning at this piece of canvas. I'm sure people thought it was weird but they just don't understand the relationship that Andy and I have.

 

Just another reason why I'll have to find a way to live in the Hirshhorn.


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