The Hirshhorn Museum rocks. I keep trying to think of a better description for the place, cause as writer – that is my job; however, no other term seems more fitting or more appropriate as a means to express my resulting state of euphoria that occurs following a visit to the Museum.
Whether it is the eclectic architecture of the building or an inspiring artist on display – I am consistently enamored. And the Hirshhorn Museum’s After Hours party on Friday night, with its award-winning entertainment and international feel, just made it official.
If you have never attended one of the After Hours you might just be thinking, okay, sure, a ‘blazing’ party at a Smithsonian museum, she must have lost her mind – but, if you were one of the 2,000-plus partygoers at the event Friday night, I am sure you can attest, that indeed, the soiree was on fire.
Attendees, after waiting on line, a long line, were basically given free reign of the Museum, providing a multitude of options depending upon ones preferences. You could either gather in the central plaza to mingle, eat/drink, and take in one of the performances – or – visit one of the Museum’s exhibitions – or – better yet, do it all.
Having already seen the stunning “Josef Albers: Innovation and Inspiration” exhibit a few weeks ago, I decided to my start my evening by checking out “ColorForms”. The exhibition, located on the bottom level of the Museum, is intended to highlight the usage of color as a form of emotional and symbolic expression. Artists such as Mark Rothko, Fred Sandback, James Turrell, Paul Sharits, and Wolfgang Laib are all featured, sharing their interpretation of color and demonstrating its capacity to evoke emotions and test the limits of perception.
Since Rothko is one of my favorite artists, it would be natural for me to say that his four murals displayed at the beginning of “ColorForms” is easily the best part of the exhibit. Nevertheless, it is Sharits, with his filmic art installation Shutter Interface, 1975, that truly steals the show. Shutter Interface, 1975 is a four-screen projection, continuously looped on 16 mm film, that mimics the alpha wave oscillations that humans experience during a state of wakeful relaxation. The film moves quite rapidly, alternating between hue and black, creating a spectacle of color, movement, light, and sound.
Next I made my way into the Sculpture Garden’s courtyard, where the ‘real’ party was happening. The music was electrifying and the crowd was invigorating. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. With DJ Brian Coxx (“the Wizard) dropping beats and DJ Excess live on the turntable, every foot was grooving. And even the uncoordinated were having fun, watching the real-time video projects of VJ Glytch and the freestyle dancing of The Step Fenz.
Easily, the real crowd pleaser of the night was the “Crutchmster”, artist Bill Shannon. The internationally renowned Shannon fuses together street dancing, skateboarding, and crutches to create a choreography all his own. Stitching together moves that not only work with his disability, but also celebrates it. And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, Shannon also had a video projection sculpture, which he created, on display for the evening.
I left After Hours trying to figure out the best way to share the event with We Love DC readers and finally decided, since once again I would remain at loss for descriptive words during the days following the event, that pictures and videos would probably work best. And I do believe, that these probably do a better job than any sentence I could possibly muster up. Enjoy!