Arts Desk

Robert Irwin’s Future Hirshhorn Scrim is Tested for Wind Resistance in California

Robert Irwin's scrim, installed for test at Cuesta College. Photo by Jay Thompson/Cuesta College

Robert Irwin's scrim, installed for test at Cuesta College

On Sunday, San Luis Obispo, California's Tribune reported that artist Robert Irwin and his assistant, Jeff Jamieson, are preparing for a site-specific scrim installation at the Hirshhorn in 2015.

"Right now it is a proposed site-conditioned project," confirms Glenn Dixon, public information officer at the Hirshhorn (and former WCP staffer). The scrim is intended to be placed under the drum of the building, and "will feature three dozen fabric scrims measuring 14 feet high and 39 to 46 feet long," according to the Tribune.

At present, scrims have been installed on the campus of Cuesta College, where the scrims are undergoing wind testing, to see if the scrims can tolerate any severe weather, like the 2012 derecho or the weather event that prompted six tornadoes in 2013.

This is not the first installation to occur under the drum of the Hirshhorn. In 2012, the Hirshhorn exhibited an installation of Ai Wei Wei's "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads." The facade of the Hirshhorn has also been used for projects, like Doug Aitken's "Song 1" and Krzyztof Wodiczko's 1988 projection, which was a part of the Hirshhorn's 1987-1993 Works series, in which artists created site-responsive and site-specific installations in various parts of the museum.

Irwin, who has been making scrim installations since the 1970s, has exhibited similar scrims at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis and the Whitney Museum in New York City.

The Hirshhorn has four works by Irwin, three of which were acquired in 2007 as a part of the Giuseppe Panza Collection, each representing a significant shift in the artist's output during the 1960s: dots, discs, and columns. Like the scrim pieces, they are subtle and disorienting. The museum might not exhibit them with the scrim, though: "Right now, this is a stand-alone project," says Dixon.

Photo by Jay Thompson/Cuesta College

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