The following museums are closed Saturday, July 23, due to a power outage: National Museum of the American Indian, Hirshhorn Museum, National Museum of African Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the Ripley Center.

Skip navigation
Share this page


Select Museums

Select: All, None

Exhibitions Home | Current | Upcoming | Past | Virtual

Sunset Song

July 1, 2009 – October 31, 2009

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
7th and Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC

Location: Outside, Sunken Garden (west side)

Sunset Song, an 8-minute sound installation by Susan Philipsz, confronts visitors with questions about how an artist can deliver narrative and the ways an artist can sculpt space with sound rather than tactile materials. The name is based on an old Scottish term for a melancholy song dedicated to someone or something that no longer exists. Philipsz sang two versions of a well-known American murder ballad The Banks of Ohio from a woman's viewpoint and then a man's.

Recently purchased by the Hirshhorn, Sunset Song is the first work by Susan Philipsz (b. 1965, Scotland) to enter the collection. She creates sound works that often investigates gender issues, loss, and loneliness and records her own voice singing songs from various sources.