United States

7th St & Independence Ave SW
Phone: 202-633-1000
Fax: 202-786-2682
Website: http://hirshhorn.si.edu

Hirshhorn Museum And Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution is a world-class museum of international modern and contemporary art. Located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Hirshhorn is one of 19 Smithsonian Institution museums and research centers. The museum opened on Oct. 1, 1974, as a result of the efforts and generosity of American entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899-1981), who donated his collection to the Smithsonian Institution in 1966. Designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft, the museum's elevated drum shaped building has 60,000 square feet of exhibition space inside and nearly four acres outside in its two-level Sculpture Garden and plaza. This welcoming, contemplative environment is designed to encourage visitors to connect with art in their own ways. Since September 2005, the Hirshhorn has been led by Olga Viso, the fourth director, who began her tenure in 1995, first serving as curator of contemporary art and next as the museum's deputy director.
The Hirshhorn's innovative line-up of programs provides the opportunity to acquire further insight into exhibitions and art-related issues. Program highlights include: Meet the Artist lectures, Artist on Artist gallery tours, the annual James T. Demetrion Lecture, children's programming and interactive artmaking workshops for youth, designed and lead by working artists. Several times a year, the museum hosts Hirshhorn After Hours, late-night events with music, refreshments and exhibition-related programming that encourages local residents to enjoy art in a social setting. The world-renowned Hirshhorn film program, one of the first in the United States to focus on independe... [ Read all ]

 Permanent Collection Highlights (19)

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Permanent Collection

The museum is committed to putting the work and ideas of contemporary visual artists forward and in the context of modernism. The collection of more than 11,500 works of art includes pieces by leading artists from the late 19th century to the present day and includes paintings, sculpture, mixed media pieces, photography, works on paper, video and film. The Hirshhorn has one of the most comprehensive collections of modern sculpture in the world, with many examples on view indoors and in the Sculpture Garden. Strengths of the collection include contemporary art, in-depth holdings of work by Willem de Kooning, Alberto Giacometti, Clyfford Still and other European painters and sculptors since World War II, as well as American painting since the late 19th century. An active acquisitions program continually adds work to the collection in all media from all over the world. The museum’s long-standing relationships with such artists as John Baldessari, Janet Cardiff, Ann Hamilton, [the family of] Ana Mendieta, Olafur Eliasson, and Hiroshi have resulted in signature exhibitions, singular collaborations, and important acquisitions in the tradition of founding patron Joseph Hirshhorn. By collecting, preserving, researching, and exhibiting modern and contemporary art, the Hirshhorn ensures that current and future generations will experience this vital social force that enhances and illuminates contemporary life.


“Refract, Reflect, Project: Light Works from the Collection

Previous Exhibitions

The Hirshhorn presents a dynamic and forward-looking array of exhibitions, special projects and public programs that invite visitors to get closer to artists and experience the transformative potential of contemporary art. Two distinctive series, “Directions,” which explores new work by emerging and established artists, and the Black Box space, which presents recent film and video works by a diverse range of emerging international artists, are examples of the Hirshhorn's commitment to bringing the newest and best in contemporary art to the public.

“The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture”
October 26, 2006–January 7, 2007

“Black Box: Jesper Just”
August 23, 2006–December 10, 2006

“Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth”
June 22, 2006–September 10, 2006

“Directions—Jim Lambie”
May 13, 2006–October 4, 2006

“Black Box: Francis Alÿs”
April 17, 2006–August 13, 2006

Hiroshi Sugimoto
February 16, 2006–May 14, 2006

“Black Box: Hiraki Sawa”
November 1, 2005–March 30, 2006

“Directions—Janet Cardiff”
“Words Drawn In Water”
August 3, 2005–October 30, 2005

“Visual Music”
June 23, 2005–September 11, 2005

“Isamu Noguchi: Master Sculptor”
February 10, 2005–May 8, 2005

Forthcoming exhibitions

“Directions—Virgil Marti and Pae White


Free; donations are accepted.

Opening hours

Open daily except December 25
Museum: 10 a.m. to 5:30 pm (EST) Plaza: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm
Sculpture Garden: 7:30 am to dusk

Getting there

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall in downtown Washington, DC, at the corner of Seventh Street SW and Independence Avenue. West of the US Capitol and east of the Washington Monument, it is the round building next to the Smithsonian's red brick Arts and Industries building.

Nearest Metro Stop:
L'Enfant Plaza (Blue, Orange, Yellow, and Green lines). Use the Smithsonian Museums exit to Maryland Avenue and Seventh Street SW.

Limited three-hour parking is available on Jefferson and Madison drives; metered parking is available on Seventh Street, Independence Avenue, and streets south; commercial lots are south on Fourth Street.

Museum internal and external photos (2)

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News and events

The Hirshhorn is pleased to offer free Podcasts about the art and artists featured at the museum. Available for download from our website and Apple iTunes, Hirshhorn Podcasts will play on any digital music player or computer. Listen to conversations with artists, lectures about the work on view and issues central to contemporary art, and walkthroughs of the galleries for a deeper understanding of the art and artists of our time.

New Acquisitions
Twenty-four works of art—many of which complement current holdings and reinforce the Hirshhorn’s commitment to collecting important contemporary artists’ work in depth—have recently entered the collection. Several of the acquisitions were seen in recent exhibitions at the Museum. Most notable, are thirteen photographs from the “Seascapes


Meet at the Information Desk for the following tours by volunteer docents and staff:

10:30 am to 12:30 pm: School Groups
1 pm: Exhibition tour
(Changes to Collection tour when Exhibition closes)
2 pm: Collections tour
3 pm: Exhibition tour
(Changes to Collection tour when Exhibition closes)

*Subject to cancellation; no tours on Holidays

Tours of special exhibitions vary; inquire at the Information Desk.


"Please join the Annual Circle and help us further Joseph Hirshhorn’s vision of a thriving, dynamic museum devoted to the art and artists of today."
-Olga Viso, Hirshhorn Director

Follow the extraordinary example of generosity and public service set by Museum founder Joseph Hirshhorn and join the Annual Circle. Your partnership is instrumental to advancing the Hirshhorn’s growth and leadership as the nation’s museum of international modern and contemporary art. Find more information on the Hirshhorn Museum’s website: http://hirshhorn.si.edu/contribute/circle.html