Andy Warhol’s ‘Shadows’ Surround the Hirshhorn Museum

The 102-panel exhibit spans nearly 450 feet.

WASHINGTON, DC—The curved galleries of the Hirshhorn Museum provide a brilliant space for the installation of “Andy Warhol: Shadows.”

Designed by Gordon Bunshaft, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum is a drum-shaped building. An elevated cylinder with a hallowed center, its design creates expansive curvilinear walls on which to hang the nearly 450-foot long series of canvases.

Conceived as one painting in multiple parts, the silkscreened and hand-painted works were derived from photographs of shadows generated in Warhol’s studio. Each is black with a contrasting hue, white or a blue, green, pink, or other bold color found in his many other works. The canvases were created in 1978, less than a decade before the artist’s death.

“Shadows” was first exhibited in 1979 and had rarely been seen as a complete group until the 102 canvases were shown in 1998 at the Dia.

At the Hirshhorn, the canvases are installed edge to edge, one foot from the floor, just as they were when Warhol first displayed them.

“Andy Warhol: Shadows” is on view at the Hirshhorn from Sept. 25, 2011 to Jan. 15, 2012. During this time, several Warhol on the Mall events will be held in partnership with the “Warhol: Headlines” exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, which is also a Smithsonian institution.

Photos by Arts Observer

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