Hirshhorn and DC Listening Lounge Welcome Sound Scene Festival Back to the National Mall

Free Auditory Art Festival Transforms the National Museum of Modern Art, June 3–5
June 2, 2022
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architectural detail of Hirshhorn Museum with fountain

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in partnership with sonic collective DC Listening Lounge, will host the 15th edition of Sound Scene, Washington, D.C.’s free auditory arts festival, June 3–5. The free three-day event will showcase a variety of performances, workshops, demonstrations and interactive audiovisual works throughout the museum building, plaza and sculpture garden. This year’s all-ages event will center around the theme of “Trust _ _ _ _ _,” asking participants to investigate the relationship between faith and doubt and consider interconnectedness within the audial realm. DC Listening Lounge aims to expand the accessibility of interactions between the audience and works of sound by providing American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation throughout the festival. 

On Friday, June 3, renowned Grammy Award-winning artist Laurie Anderson will kick off Sound Scene with a live outdoor performance of Lou Reed’s “Drones” in the Hirshhorn’s outdoor sculpture garden, 3–7 p.m. Anderson will be joined by Stewart Hurwood, Reed’s long-trusted guitar tech, to mount the sonorous four-hour tribute, part of her yearlong celebration of Reed’s 80th birthday. Free passes for “The Drones” have been distributed, but visitors will be admitted as space allows.  

On Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5, myriad workshops, concerts and performance art pieces will run 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.   

Engagements Saturday, June 4, include hands-on artmaking for children ages 0–12 on as part of Hirshhorn Kids’ monthly Maker Mornings, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., a liberation chant workshop with Freedom Futures Collective on the plaza at noon and a theremin performance at Yoko Ono’s “Wish Tree for Washington DC” (2007) at 4 p.m.  

On Sunday, June 5, Sound Scene programs include sonic meditation with Layne Garrett at 11 a.m.; “Offering,” an interactive performance led by Leigh Davis and the Threshold Choir at 1 p.m.; and at 2 p.m., “Sounds Like Us,” a workshop with Yeseul Song that invites visitors to compose using code. The latter is presented with support from the Korean Cultural Center of Washington, D.C., and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. 

Visitors are welcome to explore the Hirshhorn’s exhibitions including the just-opened exhibition “Sam Gilliam: Full Circle,” which includes monumental paintings made with the ethos of a jazz musician, and “Laurie Anderson: The Weather,” an immersive survey of the multihyphenate artist and her largest U.S. exhibition to date. 

Participants who wish to attend Sound Scene June 4 and 5 are invited to register.  

About the Hirshhorn 

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all. The museum is open daily, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and its outdoor sculpture garden is open daily, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

About the DC Listening Lounge

Founded in 2004, the DC Listening Lounge is a group of local audio enthusiasts, found-sound collectors, radio journalists, musicians, artists and coders who meet monthly to discover and appreciate new sounds. “Sound Scene” has been held annually at different locations around the city since 2008. Visit dclisteninglounge.org to join.

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