Janine Antoni, Lick and Lather, 1993-94.
Hirshhorn Museum oand Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
© Janine Antoni
The Hirshhorn is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and part of that celebration is the reopening of the renovated third floor and the exhibit: At the Hub of Things. The exhibit features artists from different generations and backgrounds with the goal of “accentuating the museum’s function as a hub where diverse ideas converse and new connections are made.” Some artists whose works are on display are very well known, such as Christo and Andy Warhol, while others may only be known within the modern art community.
Now I will freely admit that I don’t always understand modern art. There are times when I can see a piece that shows a store front with curtains covering the display and I think that it’s a comment on modern day consumerism but there are also times when all I see is a giant white canvas or bags of rice hanging from the ceiling and cannot make heads or tails of it.
There are so many pieces on display in this exhibit that there is bound to be something for everyone, but what I really enjoyed were the pieces that took classical things (styles, mediums, actual artwork) and provided a unique take on them. Perhaps my favorite piece belonged to Janine Antoni, who provided her own interpretation on the classical Greek and Roman marble busts. She decided to use chocolate and soap as the medium for the creation of her busts. Instead of carving them down like one would do with marble, she first licked the chocolate and used the soap to get the general form she wanted for her piece. Another favorite was a remake of La Grand Odalisque by Martial Raysse. It really harken backed to this famous work of art while adding a new color scheme. Titled Made in Japan, it showed how modernism has changed the classical world.
This exhibit was organized by theme, instead of by artist as has often been done. If you enjoy modern art please visit the Hirshhorn and check out this exhibit while you walk around the newly renovated third floor.