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And now, out of nowhere, comes the news that a big bubble may one day burst out of the top of the Hirshhorn Museum. The plan was detailed in this morning’s New York Times, and there’s barely a trace of it anywhere else on the internet. Seriously google “Hirshhorn AND bubble,” and one of the top links to pop up is Washington City Paper‘s Arts Desk roundup, published at 8:42 this morning.
So what do you need to know about the bubble? It was designed by the same firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, that designed Manhattan’s High Line, and competed to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture (its proposal ultimately wasn’t picked). When will I see it? That’s not entirely clear from the story, though the structure will be temporary (appearing in May and October, and being stowed away in between).
Why? Because if it’s temporary, it doesn’t need to be approved by the Fine Arts Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission. Is it just to look at—-or can I get all up in there? Oh yes you can, according to the Times story: “Most visitors would enter the structure through a short, tube-shaped corridor located at the seam between the lounge and the main courtyard space.” Inside, there is apparently a “main hall” with a stage and “further up, a few transparent areas in the fabric would allow visitors occasional views of people up in the galleries.”
What else? The Times insists that the bubble “would also provide a sanctuary for speculating on the nature of the civilization we are building.” I’m not so sure. But it certainly would create new buzz beyond those Hirshhorn after hours parties I’m always hearing about.