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The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

by Katie Calvert

The Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is home to one of the world’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary art.

Hirshhorn Museum across Jefferson DriveOne of the largest bequests ever donated to the Smithsonian, Joseph H. Hishhorn’s gift of more than 6,000 sculptures and paintings that formed the basis of the museum’s collection has doubled through other donations and acquisitions since the museum opened in 1974.
Most works date from post-World War II to today; the collection includes pieces from both recognized and emerging artists throughout the world.
Fountain in the center of the Hirshhorn MuseumGordon Bunshaft, the MIT-trained and Pritzker-Prize-winning architect who designed the Hirshhorn Museum building, created a modern masterpiece himself. The cylindrical building includes a dazzling central fountain whose water “ballet” shoots streams that rise as high as the museum.
Sculptures by Magritte and Dine in the Hirshhorn MuseumThe sunken, bi-level Sculpture Garden on the National Mall side of the museum is not to be missed.
Sculptures at the Hirshhorn MuseumIf you are growing a bit weary of noisy school groups in museum corridors or crowded conditions in temporary exhibitions, a walk in the open and green Sculpture Garden with its calming reflecting pool is just the thing.
Your amble will lead you past works by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, and Henri Matisse.
Richard Koshalek, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, has been working on a plan to erect a 145-foot-tall inflatable meeting hall and performance space that would swell out of the top and one side of the internal courtyard like a big blue balloon. The plan would be to install the inflatable structure for a limited amount of time twice a year.
A calendar of events & programs, plus additional information about art & artists, education & research and more are available on the Hirshhorn website.
Slideshow—all photos on this page

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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2016 Lee W. Nelson