Hirshhorn Museum: Gallery Experience

Artists and Climate Change with Katie Kehoe

December 20, 2019

Join artist Katie Kehoe to experience and discuss her approach to considering and responding to climate change through her practice as an artist. The program begins with a brief performative introduction inspired by Harbinger, a performance piece by Kehoe which took place around the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC on October 20, 2019.

The introductory performance will begin in the museum’s lobby and move to the Lerner Room, on the third floor. It will be followed by a conversation between Kehoe and Blair Murphy, Curator of Exhibitions at Arlington Arts Center, focused on the artist’s use of performance and public engagement to encourage conversations about the ongoing impact of climate change and sea level rise. The program will conclude with an opportunity for audience members to experience Kehoe’s approach to cultivating dialogue in public space.

For the performance, we walked in single file, three feet apart, talking out loud, recalling recent experiences with extreme weather, while making our way through the museum. People visiting the museum were invited to walk alongside our procession and listen in on the stories we shared.

I invited the audience to form small clusters, linking arms and facing outward, explaining that if they were on a boat that capsized, this would be the ideal formation – it would ensure they stay together and be able to see 360 degrees. I asked them to reflect on things they noticed that indicate the climate is changing and share this with the people in their cluster. Another reason I asked them to assume this formation, was so their voices would project outward and others visiting the museum, could walk through and listen in on the conversations.

Participating Performers: Jorge Banales, Amanda Banks, Heloisa Escudero, Joe Haley, Amanda Jarvis, Sisc Johnson, Frank McCauley, Caroline Meyers, Wendy Sittner, Michelle Smith, and Bud Wilkinsen

Photos by: Brian English