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By his biography, John Gerrard would not be the most obvious artist to zero in on America’s desolate, rural terrain, but somehow the Dublin-born, Vienna-residing artist became fascinated with the horizontal, largely featureless landscapes of the great American interior. In a three-work exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Gerrard offers views of three intrusions on the binary landscape of the Great Plains—a “nodding donkey” oil well in Colorado, a series of buildings at an Oklahoma pork processing plant, and a gathering dust storm in Texas. He portrays each in soundless, high-resolution, endlessly repeating video loops stitched together by computer from actual photographs. The works range all the way up to the wall-sized, but the most impressive is his smallest—the tour of the pork plant, where pools of water and corrugated roofs shimmer ethereally. The curators have wisely set the lights low and kept the ambient sound to a minimum, helping maintain the focus on Gerrard’s unfussily hypnotic imagery.
“DIRECTIONS: JOHN GERRARD” IS ON VIEW DAILY 10 A.M. TO 5:30 P.M. TO MAY 31 AT THE HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, INDEPENDENCE AVENUE AND 7TH STREET SW. FREE. (202) 633-1000.=