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Exhibition Review: What Absence is Made Of

Exhibition Review: What Absence is Made Of

If you're into modern and contemporary art, then the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC is a must-see. The museum consistently provides art that is thought-provoking—as well as quite enjoyable—and it has become one of my favorites of the DC area. It is apart of the Smithsonian Institution, which also means it's free.

I particularly loved the What Absence is Made Of exhibition, which featured art that explored themes of identity, memory, and loss. The goal of the exhibition was to display how the concept of "absence" has been used as an artistic tool over the last seventy years. All types of mediums—painting, photography, sculpture, video—were featured. Some of the artwork was interactive, involving viewers as a component of the work.

What are the limits of the material world? Can the invisible be made visible? Can memories and ideas be considered art? The exhibition featured works that aimed to answer these questions.

I really appreciated the works that explored the relationship of mind and body. A number of the artists used representation of the body to make comments on identity, culture, and even politics. Minimalism and lack of color were also recurring characteristics in many of the works.

I will say, I left the exhibition with no definite answers. But that is besides the point. The value of these artworks lie in their ability to ask tough questions and act as a starting point for internal and external dialogue.

The exhibition covered some pretty heavy topics, but I found that a few unexpected moments of humor helped maintain an overall encouraging tone. The variety in mediums also kept the journey through the exhibition exciting and non-redundant.

I've included a few of my favorite works from the exhibition. It will be on view until Summer 2019.

 Lorna Simpson,  Five Day Forecast

Lorna Simpson, Five Day Forecast

 Didier Vermeiren,  Untitled

Didier Vermeiren, Untitled

 Joseph Kosuth,  'Titled (Art as Idea as Idea) [idea]"

Joseph Kosuth, 'Titled (Art as Idea as Idea) [idea]"

Coffee Break: Paris

Coffee Break: Paris