Hirshhorn Museum

Artists and Climate Change with Katie Kehoe

December 20, 2019

Join artist Katie Kehoe to learn about her approach in using art as a platform for addressing climate change. The program begins with a brief performance inspired by Harbinger, a site-specific performance piece Kehoe presented at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC on October 20, 2019.

The performance will begin in the museum’s lobby and proceed 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. The conversation will focus on the Kehoe’s use of performance and public engagement to encourage conversations about the ongoing impact of climate change and sea level rise. And the program will conclude with an opportunity for audience members to experience Kehoe’s approach to cultivating dialogue in public space.

Hirshhorn Museum, Artists and Climate Change with Katie Kehoe


Performers walked in single file, three feet apart, talking out loud, recalling recent experiences with flooding. They walked from the basement to the Lerner Room on the third floor, and people visiting the museum were invited to walk alongside the procession and listen in on the stories spoken aloud. It was as though the performers voices were a river flowing through the museum.

Socially Engaged Activity

Following the conversation with Blair Murphy, Kehoe invited the audience to form small clusters, linking arms and facing outward. She explained that if they were on a boat that capsized, this would be the ideal formation. It would ensure they stay together while also being able to see 360 degrees and better spot help. She then asked participants to reflect on what they noticed in the past three years that indicates the climate is changing. And to then share these recollections with the people in their cluster. Kehoe added that by arranging participants in these cluster formations, they are challenged to project their voices so partners can hear them better. And this is also advantageous, for enabling others who may have just entered the space, to walk around and listen in on the experiences people shared.

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

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