Events May 24-26: Jeff Koons, Hawaiian Staycation and Navy Jazz

This weekend, learn more about an iconic piece of art, celebrate the Pacific island and take in some tunes, courtesy the U.S. Navy jazz band

Who is this guy exactly? Find out at Friday’s gallery talk at the Hirshhorn.
Who is this guy exactly? Find out at Friday’s gallery talk at the Hirshhorn. Photo by Wikimedia user AgnosticPreachersKid

Friday, May 24: Gallery Talk on Jeff Koons’ Kiepenkerl

What is about pop artist Jeff Koons that draws equal parts scorn and admiration? The art world, argues a recent article in New York Magazine, remains skeptical even despite his commercial success. “Koons is,” writes Carl Swanson, “by the measure of sales of new work, which is the money-mad art world’s only objective measure, the most successful living American artist, but he has never before had a museum retrospective in New York, his home base for 36 years.” His reputation, says Swanson, is built on creating toys for rich old boys. The Hirshhorn’s own Koons, Kiepenkerl, is a strange mix of old meets new, with a candy-coating of silver. The statue of a traveling peddler plays on nostalgia while selling an exciting spirit of exploration: poised with walking stick and a bag full of mysteries, where is this man headed? Today’s gallery talk will examine this 1987 stainless steel sculpture and look at how it fits into the artist’s larger oeuvre. Free. 12:30 p.m. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Saturday, May 25: Celebrate Hawai’i Festival

Even though the Washington Post reports that fewer folks will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, you can still get that tropical vacation you were hoping for right on the Mall. Head to the American Indian Museum for a full day of events celebrating Hawai’i. The annual celebration is part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and includes cooking and hula demonstrations as well as films and performances from popular acts like the Aloha Boys. And if one day isn’t enough, Sunday features another full day of programs. Free. 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. American Indian Museum.

Sunday, May 26: Music at the Museum: Summer Band Concert

Salute the troops this weekend with a performance by the U.S. Navy jazz band, the Commodores. The show is outdoors, so bring the blanket, the family and some sunglasses. The band has been entertaining and educating since 1969 and features a mix of big band tunes and vocal arrangements. The concert series continues each fourth Sunday through August. Free. 6 p.m. Air and Space Museum.

Also, check out our Visitors Guide App. Get the most out of your trip to Washington, D.C. and the National Mall with this selection of custom-built tours, based on your available time and passions. From the editors of Smithsonian magazine, the app is packed with handy navigational tools, maps, museum floor plans and museum information including ‘Greatest Hits’ for each Smithsonian museum.

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