Saturday, August 3, 2013

Directions: Jennie C. Jones: Higher Resonance

Where: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

When: through October 27, 2013

The latest in the museum's "Directions" series, this exhibit has as much to do with music as with art.  The visual portion of the display is acoustical panels, much like the one pictured: mostly grey, white and black, with accents of yellow.  Not much to look at, frankly.  You sit in a room with several of these panels fastened to the walls and listen to music.  It's peculiar, but then it's the Hirshhorn, so what would you expect?

The music has jazz influences that you can hear periodically, but it's not all jazz.  At one point, I thought it sounded like an orchestra tuning up.  Not sure if that's what it was, and I'm just too much of a philistine to appreciate how artistic that is, or if it was some kind of avant-garde musical genre, and I'm just too much of a philistine to recognize it.  Regardless, the higher message was lost on me.

There are also moments of silence; I say moments, but they last longer than a mere rest in a piece, so you find yourself wondering, "Is it over?"  "Is that all there is?"  Then the music begins again, and you realize you're in for several more minutes of looking at acoustical panels and listening to odd sounds.

Verdict: Worth a minute if you're on the 3rd floor anyway.  Don't feel obligated to take a seat and settle in for the long haul.  If you listen as you walk through, you'll get the gist of it.

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