The Smithsonian will not move forward with plans for the Hirshhorn’s Seasonal Inflatable Structure, known as the Bubble. Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, made the announcement today (June 5) citing financial uncertainties as the reason for the decision. The proposed structure on the plaza of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden was to be a seasonal venue used for two months each year with programming devoted to arts and culture.
Kurin also said that Hirshhorn Director Richard Koshalek, who announced his resignation to the museum’s board and staff in late May, would step down as director effective June 29. Koshalek will serve as an adviser to the Under Secretary until Aug. 31, advising on exhibitions, programming, acquisitions and curating public spaces.
Kerry Brougher, deputy director and chief curator of the museum, will serve as acting director beginning June 30. Kurin will lead a nationwide search for a successor to Koshalek, who has served as Hirshhorn director since April 2009….
Construction of the Seasonal Inflatable Structure and installation for two years were estimated at $12.5 million, not including funds spent on planning, design and fundraising; $7.8 million had been raised or committed—though some of that was in doubt following the Hirshhorn board meeting. The Smithsonian’s contribution of $4 million over a 10-year period would have supplemented operational and programming costs and is not included in the $7.8 million total. In addition, about $1 million would be needed annually in subsequent years for installation, de-installation and storage (not including staffing and programming) for the 10 months of the year the Bubble would not be used.