Hirshhorn Museum Hosts Dialogue between Hirshhorn Director Richard Koshalek and Author Victoria Newhouse

Fourth in a Series of Hirshhorn and Library of Congress Collaborations
September 5, 2012
News Release

Scholar and architectural historian Victoria Newhouse will talk with Hirshhorn Director Richard Koshalek about her new book, Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls (The Monacelli Press, 2012) Wednesday, Sept. 12, at noon at the Library of Congress. In the fourth collaboration between the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, Newhouse will discuss her recent publication charting the course of performing arts architecture from ancient Greece to the recent transformation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. In her richly illustrated book, Newhouse argues that this is a golden age in opera house design in which new halls respond in unprecedented ways to the needs of contemporary musicians. Newhouse’s conversation with Koshalek will also touch on the trend of arts institutions embracing temporary, pop-up structures as they move away from vast, multimillion-dollar additions.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. It will take place in Room 119 in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., and the event will begin promptly at noon.

About the Book

Newhouse’s Site and Sound: The Architecture and Acoustics of New Opera Houses and Concert Halls begins with an historic overview to contextualize the iconic theater architecture of the late 20th century and its relationship to the dramatic new projects now underway. Newhouse examines the link between acoustics and architecture and includes personal anecdotes about a wide range of architects, acousticians, conductors, composers and performers consulted during her research. Alongside the concert halls themselves, Newhouse critiques the cultural context and ideas behind these surprisingly idiosyncratic representatives of regional political power. The book concludes with a worldwide tour of the next generation of opera houses and concert halls, including those just completed, currently under construction or merely hoped for.

About the Author

Newhouse is an independent scholar and founder of the Architectural History Foundation, a non-profit publisher of scholarly books, which operated from 1978 until 1994. Her other books include Wallace K. Harrison: Architect (1989), Towards a New Museum (1998, expanded edition 2006) and Art and the Power of Placement (2005). She is a frequent contributor to Architectural Digest, Architectural Record and ARTnews. She recently completed a chapter on the architecture of concert halls and opera houses that will be included in a forthcoming book by Gérard Mortier on the future of opera.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of international modern and contemporary art, has nearly 12,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new media works in its collection. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs that explore current art. Located at Independence Avenue and Seventh Street S.W., the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (except Dec. 25). Admission to the galleries and special programs is free. For more information about exhibitions and events, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. To request accessibility services, contact Kristy Maruca at marucak@si.edu or (202) 633-2796, preferably two weeks in advance.

About the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress

Since its creation by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress (www.read.gov/cfb) has become a major national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for 52 affiliated state centers for the book (including sites in the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nonprofit reading promotion partners and plays a key role in the library’s annual National Book Festival. It also oversees the library’s Read.gov website and administers the library’s Young Readers Center.

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