January 4, 2022
The Hirshhorn Museum Commissions Nicolas Party to Transform its Facade
Starting with about 25 small pastel paintings on paper, the final piece was digitally collaged and printed on a scrim spanning a circumference of 829 feet. Its androgynous faces were inspired by classical sculpture; the colorful curtains were sampled from 17th century Dutch masters such as Vermeer and Rembrandt. An iconic red curtain is borrowed from Surrealist painter René Magritte, known for trompe l’oeil illusions and scenographic themes. In this vein, Draw the Curtain seems to be in direct conversation with the cylindrical, curtain wrapped clouds of Magritte’s 1960 painting The Memoirs of a Saint.
“At first it was daunting to create an artwork to cover a central building in the capital of the United States,” says Party. “Washington has many monuments that tell stories and represent ideologies. Draw the Curtain joins that conversation while also bringing attention to what these visible structures keep hidden.”
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