On The Avenue

Hirshhorn of Plenty

by Ben Diamond Photographed by Samantha Nandez/BFA.com
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
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New York and Washington met at Lincoln Center last night for the Hirshhorn Museum’s third annual New York gala. Which is less unusual than it sounds—although the Hirshhorn is based in D.C., it has deep ties to the Big Apple.  “Mr. Hirshhorn was very much a New Yorker,” said museum director Melissa Chiu. “He worked in New York, and lived in Greenwich, and showed his collection at the Guggenheim in the ’60s, which is what prompted the Smithsonian to talk to him about founding the Hirshhorn. So it all started here.”


The evening was also a tribute to women in the arts, and honored 32 different women, among them Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono and the Guerrilla Girls. One of them, the composer Meredith Monk, recalled what made the museum so important for her. “I performed there in 1985, and I had a wonderful, wonderful time. It’s a beautiful museum, I love that it’s not too big and that you’re always able to get a very in-depth art experience from being there,” she said.


Even the pricklier guests had to concede the Hirshhorn’s importance. “I don’t think artists are supposed to endorse institutions,” said the artist Lawrence Weiner. But, he admitted, “If I didn’t approve I wouldn’t be here.” 


Since 1974, the Hirshhorn Museum has been acclaimed as one of the world’s finest collections of modern art. Last night’s gala helped raise $1.24 million to support the museum’s programming and exhibitions. Other women honored last night included Nairy Baghramian, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Tacita Dean, Tracey Emin, Rachel Feinstein, Isa Genzken, Katharina Grosse, Mary Heilmann, Jenny Holzer, Shirazeh Houshiary, Ai Jing, Bharti Kher, Yayoi Kusama, Tala Madani, Mariko Mori, Wangechi MutuSusan Rothenberg, Michal Rovner, Dana Schutz, Taryn Simon, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Pat Steir, Sarah Sze, Mickalene Thomas, Tatiana Trouvé, Mary Weatherford and Haegue Yang. Other guests included Tanya Bonakdar, Mary Boone, Phil Donahue, Marian Goodman, Agnes Gund, Lisa Phillips and Marlo Thomas.


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