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Revolutions: Art from the Hirshhorn Collection, 1860–1960 | Featuring Amoako Boafo

Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden presents “Revolutions: Art from the Hirshhorn Collection, 1860–1960,” a major survey of artwork made during a transformative period characterized by new currents in science and philosophy, and ever-increasing mechanization. “Revolutions” captures shifting cultural landscapes through the largely chronological presentation. In its first rotation, the installation presents 208 artworks in the museum’s permanent collection by 117 artists—including Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Lee Krasner, Wifredo Lam, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock—made during 100 turbulent and energetic years.

“Revolutions” spotlights the rush of art historical movements and genres that characterized the arc of Modernism and the ascendancy of abstraction, notably through the work of artists interested in engaging the mind, not just the eye. This breadth was evident in Joseph Hirshhorn’s founding gifts to the Museum. An industrialist, collector, and philanthropist, Hirshhorn donated nearly 6,000 works—including a significant number of sculptures—in anticipation of the Museum’s opening on October 4, 1974, and 6,400 more upon his death in 1981. Together these gifts constitute one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. Today, the Hirshhorn collection comprises more than 13,130 artworks. 

“Revolutions” takes a primarily chronological approach to historical movements, pausing occasionally to introduce contemporary works that serve as throughlines.