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The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum acquired more than 80 works over the past year

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The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Modern and contemporary art branch of the Smithsonian Institution’s network in Washington, DC, has acquired more than 80 artworks over the past year, it revealed on Wednesday (22 November).

Among the more than 45 artists whose works the museum acquired are Dawoud Bey, Cindy Sherman, Guadalupe Maravilla, Dyani White Hawk, Wangechi Mutu and Cao Fei. The acquisitions were made via gift and purchase by the museum since November of 2022, and run the gamut from sculpture to time-based performative media.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (Secretary), 1978, printed 1993. Gift of the Honorable Tom Udall and Jill Cooper Udall, in honor of the Hirshhorn’s 50th anniversary, 2023. Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Photo: Rick Coulby.

​​“As the Hirshhorn approaches its 50th anniversary next year, we are expanding the permanent collection to reflect the transnational narrative of modern and contemporary art history,” Melissa Chiu, the museum’s director, said in a statement.

The recent acquisitions underline the Hirshhorn’s commitment not only the breadth of its collection, but also adding depth to its holdings by certain artists. For instance, tthree artworks by Nam June Paik ranging from the early 1970s to the year before his death in 2006 contextualise his legacy as a visionary in the history of video art; Glenn Ligon’s 2022 neon Untitled (America/Me) will be the seventh of his works to find a home at the Hirshhorn.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Introductions: Early Embodiment (Koba), 2019. Gift of Iris and Adam Singer. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © Toyin Ojih Odutola.

Joseph H. Hirshhorn’s foundational gift highlighted artists of the Latin American diaspora, a concerted area of expansion in the museum’s latest acquisitions campaign. Recent additions include a large-scale installation by El Salvador-born artist Maravilla that utilses sound bath immersion to engage viewers, and video works by Panama-based artists Donna Conlon and Jonathan Harker.

Further additions to the Hirshorn’s holdings underscore the institution’s interest in collecting from museum exhibitions, including artworks by Toyin Ojih Odutola and Kunie Sugiura.

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