The Hirshhorn is full of modern art; a lot of sculpture – there is an excellent sculpture garden which we wandered around, and smaller sculpture inside – and lots of large painting. There was a room of Clyfford Still, whose work I love, and a couple of Rothkos.
The floor of the lobby was an installation designed by Jim Lambie – a Glaswegian artist: lots of striking colours (almost psychedelic!). There was a beautifully intense piece by Anish Kapoor, “In the Hub of Things” – a large, hollow hemisphere of intense blue pigment; inside the sphere, in the shadow, it was impossible to see where it ended: I felt as if my hand would disappear if I placed it inside, a literal black hole (no time or space or light).
There were also some Matisse bronzes of large, massive backs, similar to those that used to be in the Tate (before it moved to Bankside – I can’t remember if they are in the new building or not); they may be casts of the same statues. These bronzes have a lot of power – a deep pull.
The Hirschorn itself is an interesting building – doughnut-shaped, the hole being a courtyard. In the centre is a large fountain. Beside the building, on the Mall, was a large sculpture of a giant brush stroke: close up, it was abstracted, and it was only when I looked over from across the Mall that I realised what it was. I think it must have been by Roy Lichtenstein – it had that kind of feel. Then some steps lead down to the sculpture garden. There are a lot of Rodin pieces – “the Burghers of Calais” and his “Monument to Balzac”. It was very sunny, the shadows adding an extra depth to the sculpture.
We then wandered around the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden. There was a huge Louise Bourgeois cast spider (not one for arachnophobes); a beautiful, stepped “Four Sided Pyramid” by Sol LeWitt; and a perspective house by Roy Lichtenstein, which keeps its perspective as you walk around it.