DIRECTIONS, Through September 9 at the Hirshhorn Museum, 8th Street and Independence Avenue SW. Daily, 10 to 9.
It could almost be a giant hammock swaying in the breeze, except that it's made of bricks. Loren Madsen's "Untitled Temporary Construction" is held together by chains, wires and interlocking pipes is one of five contemporary art themes explored in the Hirshhorn show, "Directions."
Works selected for the "Imitation" part of the show are guaranteed to fool the eye. Alan Kessler's heavy rusted tools and weathered boxes are actually intricately carved and painted wood. Those Popsicles and slices of Wonder Bread in varying stages of consumption are actually white Carrara marble that Jud Nelson carved by hand and laser. The biggest teaser are Peter Saari's "ancient frecoes" of plaster and acrylic on stretched canvas.
Anyone who expects art to be pretty or serious may be puzzled by this show. Why does Kessler try to recreate rather than create? What is the appeal of Eleanor Antin's videotapes in the "Fictions" segment ("The Adventures of a Nurse" and "The Nurse and the Hijackers") in which a uniformed nurse plays adult games with paper dolls?
It may or may not be art. Fun it is. CAPTION: Picture, LOREN MADSEN'S "UNTITLED TEMPORARY CONSTRUCTION," A SCULPTURE HE DESIGNED FOR THE HIRSHHORN'S SHOW, "DIRECTIONS."