The concrete caterpillar of the Hirshhorn contemporary art gallery transformed itself into a funky butterfly last Friday night for the last After Hours of 2009. With tickets selling out faster than ever before, excited murmurs began on Facebook and Twitter several weeks before.
With queues snaking round the building before the doors opened, it was clear that the word has got around that the Hirshhorn’s parents were out of town for the evening and the kids know how to throw a good party. In celebration of the recently opened Anne Truitt sculpture exhibition, Perception and Reflection, the gallery floors were open until 10pm for all arty-party-goers to wander amongst some of the true great pieces of Truitts’ abstract works. This is the first major exhibition of Truitt’s work since 1974. The contrast between her candy-colored geometric forms and the darker hues of browns and greens of her earlier pieces allow a real journey to be taken when walking through the circular gallery trail. Also on view was Strange Bodies: Figurative Works from the Hirshhorn Collection. The happy medium between absorbing art, and absorbing the brightly colored cocktails available in the courtyard below worked perfectly. Not to mention the wonderful spread of culinary delights, including some particularly yummy sausages, all provided by Main Event Caterers. I believe that it is one of few events in DC where you can find beautiful art, a great crowd of people and a fantastic fun atmosphere in one simple evening.
The Fatback DJ’s were the ones to get the party started, blasting out some tunes that got everyone dancing in the rain, that inevitably began about an hour before the doors opened. The highlight of the evening for many was the drop in performance by The Madison Lively Stones, a brilliant funky local New Orleans themed brass band, that can be often seen playing outside the Dupont metro stations. They took the night by storm (quite literally it seemed as the rain came down). Achieving the happy medium between gallery floor and dance floor can always be tricky to balance, but the Hirshhorn team pulled through with a night to remember. Hopefully this is just a sign of what lays ahead for the Washington D.C. arts scene.
Is it the best art event in the area? We’d be hard pressed to find another that’s better at this point. What do you think …?