After the Parkland Shooting, the Hirshhorn Removes an Artwork on Gun Violence

Washington City Paper, Kriston Capps, February 21, 2018

"On Valentine’s Day, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden had planned to project a piece onto the exterior of its building, night two of the artwork’s three-evening run. Krzysztof Wodiczko’s projection, which first appeared on the museum 30 years ago, was to serve as the flag to celebrate the opening of the Hirshhorn’s new survey, Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s. 

Wodiczko’s work—“Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988–2000”—skewers the political ruling class. The 68-foot-tall photo projection shows a faceless figure at a press podium. While the politico can’t be seen behind the cluster of microphones, his cuffed arms extend forward beyond the lectern, in balled fists that span the side of the museum building. In his left hand the man holds a candle; in his right, a revolver. 


After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student was charged with using an AR-15 assault rifle to kill 17 people and injure at least 14 more, the museum cancelled its suddenly topical projection. Just before sundown, the Hirshhorn announced that it would postpone the remaining nights until a later date. The decision came with the artist’s approval. “To me, the silence feels most respectful,” said Wodiczko, in a statement provided by the Hirshhorn. “In this case, not showing the projection shows respect and sensitivity to the people who suffer from this great tragedy.”"

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