Jessica Diamond: Wheel Of Life

Jessica Diamond, Untitled (O Small Small Head), 1989/1991. Acrylic and latex paint on wall. Image courtesy of the artist.

July 14, 2023 – Ongoing
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Independence Ave. at 7th St., SW
Washington, DC
2nd Level, Inner-circle Galleries

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden presents the largest museum installation to date by American conceptual artist Jessica Diamond. Wheel Of Life fills the Hirshhorn’s second-floor inner-circle galleries with 15 text-and-image-based artworks to highlight the inventive nature of the artist’s practice.

Diamond emerged in New York’s downtown art scene in the 1980s. Adopting language as her primary medium, the artist critiques contemporary American life, particularly commercialism, corporate culture and media. Literature also serves as a continual touchstone, with references in the exhibition to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854), Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (1865) and James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). She presents13 new wall drawings in dialogue with two preexisting works to reveal, in what she refers to as “poetical texts” and symbols, her meditation on spending more than 40 years as a working artist.

Visitors can also see a suite of Hirshhorn Eye videos associated with the exhibition embedded in the museum’s self-guiding smartphone platform. Designed to enrich your onsite experience, these new Hirshhorn Eye (Hi) shorts are voiced by individuals of many ages. Hi activates the museum’s second-floor inner-circle galleries by prompting engagement with the artist’s richly coded self-reflections, inviting visitors to linger and share their reflections on social channels.