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Abstract art movements popped up in Europe and America throughout the 20th century, but the Hirshhorn’s latest exhibition encourages viewers to take a more focused look at how Italian artists brought abstraction to the attention of international arts communities. Featuring movements as diverse as Arte Povera, Futurism, kinetic art, and op art, the stark and spare pieces stand out among the flashier works more often associated with abstraction. Take Giacomo Balla’s 1914-15 work “Sculptural Construction of Noise and Speed” (pictured). At a time of budding invention and industrial nationalism, Balla molded materials into pointed, angular shapes that reach out to the viewer. In a nod to the “waves” of influence noted in the exhibition’s title, curators were wise to include works by kinetic artists like Heinz Mack and painter Carlo Battaglia, whose influence reverberated around the world. Several of the featured works in the show haven’t been displayed since the Hirshhorn’s inaugural exhibition in 1975, so now’s the perfect time to look back at these artists who, long ago, looked to the future. The exhibition is on view daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., to Jan. 3, 2016, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 633-4674. hirshhorn.si.edu.