Surface to Air

The Architect’s Newspaper, Feb. 24, 2012

It has been compared to a doughnut and a UFO, and less charitably (by Ada Louise Huxtable) to a bomb shelter and penitentiary. But Washington, D.C.’s cylindrical Hirshhorn Museum, designed by Gordon Bunshaft, will soon double as something else entirely: a movie screen. Starting on March 22, the Smithsonian’s modern art museum will show a new 360-degree audiovisual work by artist Doug Aitken on its nearly blank concrete facade. The piece will run every night, sunset until midnight, through May 13.

Called Song 1, the installation splices together more than a dozen new versions of the ur-pop song “I Only Have Eyes for You” by recording artists including Beck and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and harmonizes them with images from 11 projectors, often blending these into a single wraparound image.

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