Head east down the Mall and stop at the first round museum on the right: "Directions 1983" shows that today's art is more personal, less political and veering toward installations.
The Hirshhorn's third survey of the state of contemporary art cashes in on pop culture, architecture, quirks on canvas and "real space/illusion."
Three walk-in works -- all exploring space, reality and illusion -- draw visitors toward the rear of the show and hold them there. Anita Thacher's "Anteroom" plays games with perception to the beat of David Byrne's synthesized music. Color slides create illusions, heightened by manipulated information. A doorknob mounted on the wall-screen seems in synch with the film.
Next door, Kendall Buster's untitled chamber of space-time horrors with phony windows, strings or poles of light, planes and diagrams, puts us in an altered state. Buster's stuck on geometry, metaphors, metaphysics and black and red paint.
Elyn Zimmerman's indoor-outdoor passageways demonstrate a sculptural approach to architecture. It's the layered look: stone walls, screen grating, drywall and gravel. Light and texture create a tonal experience. You can't get an angle on it, just a lot of angles at once.
Fans of '50s B-movies will be at home in the "Melodrama" section. Alexis Smith's collages parody pulp novels. Superimposed on one mixed-media portrait: " 'Meet my wife.' She held out her hand and I took it gently. 'A pleasure.' " And performance artist Robert Longo's violent, vaguely paranoid drawings seem like stills from a film noir.
Julian Schnabel's oil-and-velvet painting, a large-scale clash of anarchistic colors, fits the "expressionisms" grouping; likewise, Jonathan Borofsky's bizarre "Acrylic on Unprimed Canvas with Bubble Wrap and Duct Tape at 2,680,377." Pity this still life, all taped up and no place to go.
"From the Model," art based on architecture, clothing and furniture, includes Siah Armajani's window structures from his "Dictionary for Building" series. His austere forms mostly twist Constructivist, De Stijl and Bauhaus ideas. But like all the works in the exhibition, they indicate future directions by taking cues from the past. DIRECTIONS 1983 -- Forty works by 17 artists at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden through May 15.