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Hirshhorn to Celebrate Next Generation of Contemporary Artists

Performance Artist Ragnar Kjartansson to Debut New Work at Gala in New York

October 3, 2016

Building on the success of its dual 40th Anniversary galas in New York and Washington, D.C., which together raised $1.8 million in 2015—the largest amount in the museum’s history—the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announced today that its second New York gala will be held Thursday, Nov. 3 at One World Trade Center.

In celebration of the Hirshhorn’s decades-long commitment to recognizing and supporting the trailblazing artists of our time, the November gala will honor 39 international artists who are transforming how audiences around the world experience and engage with contemporary art, including David Altmejd, Harold Ancart, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Eduardo Basualdo, Katherine Bernhardt, Jose Dávila, Sam Falls, Rashid Johnson, Ragnar Kjartansson, Adam Pendleton, Mika Rottenberg, and Jordan Wolfson, among many others.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to recognize a new generation of artists who are responding to the world around them in unique and unexpected ways,” said Melissa Chiu, the Hirshhorn’s director. “These artists share an approach to art making that is not only pushing the boundaries of tradition, but also is transforming our own understanding of the world. It is this original artistic expression that is fundamental to the Hirshhorn, and we could not be more proud to celebrate this next generation for all of their accomplishments.”

The Hirshhorn will welcome approximately 300 guests Nov. 3 to One World Trade Center, which at 1,776 feet is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The Manhattan skyline at sunset will be the stunning backdrop for an elegant cocktail reception, followed by a seated dinner and a decadent dessert presentation.

Ragnar Kjartansson, hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most celebrated performance artists anywhere,” will debut a new live performance during the gala. The artist’s first institutional survey exhibition debuts at the Hirshhorn Oct. 14.

All proceeds from the gala will benefit the Hirshhorn’s wide-ranging public initiatives, including exhibitions, free programs, community partnerships, and digital collaborations that bring global contemporary art to the widest possible audiences. For more information about the gala, please visit the Hirshhorn’s website.

2016 Artist Honorees

Ahmed Alsoudani (Iraqi, b. 1975)
Ellen Altfest (American, b. 1970)
David Altmejd (Canadian, b. 1974)
Harold Ancart (Belgian, b. 1980)
Iván Argote (Colombian, b. 1983)
Korakrit Arunanondchai (Thai, b. 1986)
Davide Balula (French, b. 1978)
Ali Banisadr (Iranian, b. 1976)
Eduardo Basualdo (Argentine, b. 1977)
Neil Beloufa (French, b. 1985)
Katherine Bernhardt (American, b. 1975)
Antoine Catala (French, b. 1975)
Rachael Champion (American, b. 1982)
Jose Dávila (Mexican, b. 1974)
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg (Swedish, b. 1978)
Sam Falls (American, b. 1984)
Aaron Garber-Maikovska (American, b. 1978)
Ha Chong-Hyun (Korean, b. 1935)
Secundino Hernández (Spanish, b. 1975)
John Houck (American, b. 1977)
Donna Huanca (American, b. 1980)
Alex Israel (American, b. 1982)
Rashid Johnson (American, b. 1977)
Ragnar Kjartansson (Icelandic, b. 1976)
Agnieszka Kurant (Polish, b. 1978)
Dean Levin (South African, b. 1988)
Tony Lewis (American, b. 1986)
Eric Mack (American, b. 1987)
Justin Matherly (American, b. 1972)
Rodney McMillian (American, b. 1969)
Adam Pendleton (American, b. 1984)
Eileen Quinlan (American, b. 1972)
Mika Rottenberg (Argentine, b. 1976)
Matt Saunders (American, b. 1975)
Avery Singer (American, b. 1987)
Michael E. Smith (American, b. 1977)
Mika Tajima (American, b. 1975)
Torey Thornton (American, b. 1990)
Jordan Wolfson (American, b. 1980)

The Hirshhorn will host its next Washington, D.C., gala Saturday, May 6, 2017 to coincide with Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, the first institutional exhibition to explore the evolution of one of the world’s most celebrated artist’s immersive, multi-reflective installations over a five-decade period. On view Feb. 23 – May 14, 2017, this ambitious survey show addresses the phenomenological impact of Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms in relation to her career as a whole, and it presents six of her most iconic kaleidoscopic environments alongside two large-scale installations and key paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the early 1950s to the present. Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors will travel throughout North America in 2017 and 2018 to major institutions including the Seattle Art Museum (June 30–Sept. 10, 2017), The Broad, Los Angeles (Oct. 2017–Jan. 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March—May 2018), and the Cleveland Museum of Art (July–Oct. 2018). Additional details regarding the D.C. gala will be forthcoming.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. With nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, works on paper, mixed-media installations and new media works, its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all, 364 days a year. For more information, visit



Original Hirshhorn signage at the 40th Anniversary Gala by Marc Wilson. Photo courtesy BFA.

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