Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden

Most visitors to the U.S. capitol, even art-lovers, miss seeing the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden. Sunken below ground level, it is overlooked by tourists agape at the city's major landmarks on the Mall.

What's to see there? Besides Rodin's Burghers of Calais? How about five Henry Moores?

Working Model for 'Three-Way Piece No. : Vertebrae', Henry Moore, 1968

Three-Piece Reclining Figure No. 2: Bridge Pop, Henry Moore, 1963

Draped Reclining Figure, Henry Moore, 1952-53

King and Queen, Henry Moore, 1952-53

Seated Woman, Henry Moore, 1956-57
The layout of the sculpture garden, with its trees and walls, allows the viewer to discover no more than two or three monuments at a time, a surprise around every corner.

A few of the many notable works:

Horse and Rider,  Marino Marini,  1952-53

Sphere No. 6, Arnaldo Pomodoro, 1963-64

Figure, Jacques Lipchitz, 1926-30
Above ground, beside the walkway to the Hirshhorn's entrance, was this very moving sculpture in bronze. It consists of five figures, three clustered together and two spaced well away from them.

Last Conversation Piece, Juan Muñoz, 1994-5
Last Conversation Piece, Juan Muñoz, 1994-5 (detail)
The absence of legs lends the figures an immobility or at least a paralytically slow speed of movement. There is a palpable sense of social exclusion, and ensuing alarm or even panic.

And finally, on a humourous note, this large piece in steel, titled Subcommittee: a carousel of rubber stamps, with their handles resembling the heads of the committee members.
Subcommittee, Tony Cragg, 1991

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