Falling Paper Exhibit at Hirshhorn Museum Provides ‘Otherworldly Space’

At an exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum, translucent white paper descends from the ceiling of a gallery and drifts into heaps on the floor. The piles of paper that museumgoers can wade through, sit in and toss around are part of the exhibit "at hand," by artist Ann Hamilton. Here's a look.

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Erin Schaff/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
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Kate Warren/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The blank pages in a stark, white room are meant to stir the feeling of "a litany of possibility," Hamilton wrote.
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Kate Warren/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Museumgoers are encouraged to touch the paper and quietly experience the art.

n"It's so simple, but it creates an otherwordly space, and one where you can escape from the everyday," museum spokeswoman Allison Peck said.
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Lee Stalsworth/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
The artist herself is set to speak about the piece at the Hirshhorn on Sunday, Jan. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
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Kate Warren/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
"at hand" is part of the exhibition "What Absence Is Made Of," which explores how artists explore loss, memory and emptiness.
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Kate Warren/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Every day, 3,500 sheets of paper are dropped.
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Kate Warren/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Plenty of people who visit interactive museum exhibits snap selfies there and post them to social media. The colorful "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors" exhibit spawned millions of social media posts and drew more visitors to the museum than any other exhibit in the past 40 years.
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Erin Schaff/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
But all those selfies don't necessarily mean people aren't engaging with the exhibit, the museum spokeswoman said.

n"Posting on social media is just another way of engaging with art," Peck said. "It's a way of creating, documenting and sharing something in your life that moved you."
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Kate Warren/Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Once the exhibit comes down, all the paper will be recycled.
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