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Arts Focus: Arlington Arts & The Hirshhorn Celebrate 35th Anniversary of Iconic Dark Star Park

This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts / Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

What better way to mark the national significance of a sculpture that is both a regional landmark and a cornerstone of Arlington’s internationally acclaimed public art collection than a series of events celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Dark Star Park!

Arlington Arts is partnering with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Holt/Smithson Foundation to celebrate the iconic sculpture.

Every August 1 at 9:32 a.m., artist Nancy Holt’s Dark Star Park (1984), in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood, aligns with the sun. Shadows cast by the spheres and poles of this landmark outdoor sculpture align with their permanent forms on the ground, marking the moment of Rosslyn’s founding. Dark Star Park is also extraordinary in that it is among the late artist’s few works in an accessible urban area.

Activities range from film screenings and a panel discussion, to a world premiere of a new site-specific work by new music notables Janel and Anthony. Events are scheduled both at the Hirshhorn, as well as on-site at Dark Star Park. They include:

In Conversation: Time in Public Sculpture 

Wednesday, July 31, 6:30 p.m. — Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum (Independence Avenue and 7th Street, Washington, D.C. 20560).
Free, tickets available starting Thursday, July 11, 12 p.m. EST.

Holt/Smithson Foundation’s Executive Director Lisa Le Feuvre will lead a panel discussion exploring the ever-evolving nature of sculpture in the public realm with Arlington Public Art Founding Director Angela Anderson Adams, Hirshhorn Associate Curator Anne Reeve and the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum Director Brett Littman.

Janel and Anthony Performance 

Thursday, August 1, assemble 9 a.m. — Dark Star Park (1655 Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22209).
Free and open to the public.

The world premiere of an original site-specific composition by Cuneiform recording artists Janel and Anthony. The live performance (which will begin at approx. 9:20 a.m.) will coordinate with the 9:32 a.m. shadow alignment.

The Alignment at Dark Star Park

Thursday, August 1, 9:32 a.m. — Dark Star Park (1655 Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22209).
Free and open to the public.

The community is invited to watch as the sculpture aligns with the sun and celebrate with light refreshments provided by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District.

Nancy Holt Film Screenings with an introduction by Lisa Le Feuvre

Thursday, August 1, 12:30 p.m., & Saturday, August 3, 2 p.m. — Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn (Independence Ave and 7th Street, Washington, D.C. 20560).
Free, first-come, first-served seating.

Screening of Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (1978, 26 min.) and Nancy Holt, Art in the Public Eye: The Making of Dark Star Park (1988, 33 min.). The films reveal the making of visionary land artist Nancy Holt’s earthworks, serving both as documentation of her best-known land art sculptures and as artworks in themselves.

Check out the video below for a peek at a past shadow alignment on Dark Star Park Day!

For detailed information about the 35th Anniversary Celebration of Dark Star Park, visit this link.

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