Hirshhorn Transforms Annual Ball Into Virtual Futurism Fashion Party

“Theatrical Genius” and Drag Performer Machine Dazzle Hosts Celebration With Global Artists and Fashion Jury Sept. 17
August 27, 2020
News Release

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The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will revel in the future at its second annual Hirshhorn Ball, to be held virtually, Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The fundraising celebration marries global modern and contemporary art with Washington’s creative communities. Promising the unexpected in a boundless online format, Hirshhorn Virtual Ball 2020 explores the theme of “futurism” with a contemporary twist. Blending art and fashion, guests will express their place in the Hirshhorn’s future in creative fancy dress. In recognition of the empowering art of fashion, the museum will tap Machine Dazzle, the drag artist and costume designer, to host the evening.

Tickets for Hirshhorn Virtual Ball 2020 are now on sale. To purchase and for more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu/event/hirshhorn-ball-2020. The hour-long event will be filled with pop-up appearances by Dazzle and presentations from artists including future-focused artists Mariko Mori and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, whose interactive “Pulse” exhibition drew hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Hirshhorn in 2018. Guests will be able to celebrate together from a distance with signature at-home cocktail recipes.

“This is a moment to gather online,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “As we have exhibited, especially with our new online programming over the past five months, the Hirshhorn is a place—physically and virtually—of transformation. There’s no stronger manifestation than our creative costume party, and no party like it. On Sept. 17, our guests will tune in and astonish us with their creativity. We are thrilled to join with Machine Dazzle to unite the artists and art lovers who provide essential support for our mission.”

At the dawn of the 20th century, the artistic movement of futurism was ignited by artists who looked to the emerging culture of speed and mechanization to find beauty. Taking this notion a step further, Hirshhorn Virtual Ball 2020 invites its guests to consider the theme of “futurisms” and explore how generations of artists have mobilized the concept of the future to challenge the status quo and spark change in the world. Using the expressive art of fashion, guests are strongly encouraged to take inspiration from the Hirshhorn collection and attend the event dressed as their vision of the future.

There are two ways for ticketholders to participate in the fashion contests. Guests’ outfits will be judged by a panel of celebrity jurors—including Jason Wu, Kate Bennett, Ruth E. Carter, 2019 Ball host Pussy Noir, Austin Scarlett and Di Mondo—who will select and announce the winners during the event. For a chance to win passes for the grand opening of “One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection,” ticketholders must share a photo of their ensemble the night of the event between 6 and 8 p.m. EDT on Instagram, tagging @hirshhorn and #HirshhornBall.

Supporters who purchases a ticket to the ball on or before Sept. 8 will be automatically entered to win an original accessory designed by Machine Dazzle. Ball-goers who submit a photo of their outfits on or before Sept. 8 to HirshhornBall@si.edu double their chances of winning.

Hirshhorn Ball co-chairs include Aba Kwawu,Jennifer Isham and Susan Dunlevy. The Host Committee includes Sara Azani and Arash Shirazi, Chef Erik Bruner-Yang, Peter Chang, Designing the District’s Timur Tugberk, District Dodger, Robb Duncan and Violeta Edelman, Sena Fitzmaurice, Gerald Oliver, Alexander Hankin, Danielle Hankin, Rosa Honarpisheh and Donna Honarpisheh, Keem Hughley, Sandro Kereselidze and Tati Pastukhova, Nancy Miyahira, Maggie O’Neil, Jessica Powers, Polina Proshkina, Carl Ray, Chef Nicholas Stefanelli and Sheena Thomas.

Proceeds from the evening will contribute to the Hirshhorn’s public initiatives, including exhibitions, community partnerships, vital educational programming for teens and kids and digital collaborations that bring global contemporary art to the widest possible audiences. Since 2015, the Hirshhorn’s fundraising events have raised more than $6 million to support its mission to bring people, art and ideas together.

About Machine Dazzle

Labeled “a true theatrical genius” by The New Yorker, Machine Dazzle has been dazzling stages via costumes, sets and performances since his arrival in New York in 1994. Credits include Chris Tanner’s “Football Head” (2014), Soomi Kim’s “Change” (2015), Pig Iron Theater’s “I Promised Myself To Live Faster” (2015), “Bombay Ricky” (Prototype Festival 2016), Opera Philadelphia’s “Dito and Aeneus” (2017) and Spiegleworld’s “Opium” (Las Vegas 2018). With Taylor Mac, Machine has collaborated on several projects, including “The Lily’s Revenge” (2009), “Walk Across America For Mother Earth” (2012) and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” (2016–present). Conceptualist-as-artist meets DIY meets “glitter rhymes with litter,” Machine was a co-recipient the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Visual Design and the winner of a 2017 Henry Hewes Design Award.

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 Hirshhorn Museum’s outdoor sculpture garden is open daily 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. The museum and plaza are currently closed due to COVID-19. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Kate Gibbs

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Madeline Feller

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