With the Hirshhorn’s latest installation, DC is becoming quite the arts town

Recently, on a late night run with my good friend, I stumbled upon the most magical thing.

We were running across the National Mall towards the US Capitol, surrounded by magnificent monuments and museums from all angles (a very DC moment indeed). We caught a murmur of music and a stream of lights, and we ran faster towards it, eager to discover what is was all about. My curiosity kicked into high gear, and as we got closer it started to come alive.

We ended up in front of the Hirshhorn Museum, DC’s modern museum of art and in recent years one of my favorites. What was different about the museum that night was its cylinder structure was draped in a video which incorporated many different takes of the song “I only have eyes from you” by the Flamingos. It felt almost like a series of short music videos from the perspectives of various artists/individuals. We watched it in awe for a while, and then continued on our run, but I couldn’t help but feel this continuous buzz of excitement inside of me. It is truly fascinating to experience an installation of that size where the structure is the canvas. This interactive installation delights multiple senses at once, and it can never be experienced the same way more than once, making it truly dynamic and captivating.

Upon later research, and another visit back, I discovered that this art piece is a short-term installation by Doug Aitken, an American artist based in New York. Called SONG 1, Aitken’s installation at the Hirshhorn is among his many commissions known as “liquid architecture” where he transforms a building into a piece of art that is influenced by its structure and surrounding environment.

Song 1 is only in town for 8-weeks, which is now down to 7…so make sure to check it out stat and preferably at night for the full effect. I get chills just thinking about it.

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