700 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC, United States
NileGuide Expert tip:
The Sculpture Garden provides a quiet refuge from the hustle of museum-going.
The Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden invites everyone in to explore modern and contemporary art. Gordon Bunshaft designed the Hirshhorn building itself as a "functional sculpture." Elevated above manicured sculpture grounds, the four-story hollow cylinder encircles a 60-foot fountain visible from every interior window. Since each floor is a large ring, navigating the museum is very intuitive; you progress through the curved galleries and end up exactly where you began then proceed to the next floor. The Hirshhorn continuously seeks and acquires important works by current artists, hosts traveling exhibits, and features installations with the artists on hand for discussion. Meet at the information desk on Fridays at 12:30 pm for gallery talks by visiting curators, professors and artists. Thursdays offer a mix of contemporary films and meet-the-artist events in the Ring Auditorium. Every few months brings the Hirshhorn After Hours where art and nightlife come together with DJs, artists, cocktails and dancing. Check website or visit the information desk for current schedule. After Hours events are $10 advance, $12 at the door, but most other events are free, including films. Guides are available at anytime for a 30-minute tour so ask at front desk. Forget about parking. L'Enfant Plaza is the closest Metro station (blue/gree/orange/red lines). This station is large and can be confusing – take the Maryland Ave & 7th St SW exit, follow 7th street away from the station to Independence Ave and you'll see the Hirshhorn.