For a museum that often flies below the art world’s radar, Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is flipping a one-eighty. Many have said its recent Song 1 by the much-doted Doug Aitken was the best artworks to occur in the District in recent history, and its plans to erect the futuristic rooftop Bloomberg Balloon (aka the Bubble) by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (the architectural team behind the High Line) are, miraculously, well underway.
Last week, the institution unveiled its next hit: a temporary lower-lobby site-specific installation by Barbara Kruger that’s set to cover nearly 6,700 square feet of museum interiors. Titled Belief + Doubt, Kruger will plaster entire walls, floors, and escalators with 3M vinyl that touts open-ended witticisms on contemporary social relationships and power. “WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW?” asks fodder on the floor, “WHO IS FREE TO CHOOSE? WHO SPEAKS? WHO IS SILENT?” Meanwhile, the space opposite the bookstore quips, “YOU WANT IT. YOU BUY IT. YOU FORGET IT.” With some works towering up to twelve feet high, the commissioned takeover is part of director Richard Koshalek’s ongoing initiative to activate new sites inside and around the museum.
Barbara Kruger: Belief + Doubt opens August 20.