Public Spirit tells the story of Hirshhorn, Ontario, a town planned for the wilderness of Canada, but never built. The town was the brainchild of Joseph Hirshhorn, the uranium mine investor and founder of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. Hirshhorn entrusted architect Philip Johnson with the design of the town. This installation was mounted as a Directions project for the Hirshhorn Museum in 2008-09. The research for the project was carried out with a Smithsonian Institution Artists Research Fellowship. The results of this research project were presented in four showcases, described in detail in the link below. Aside from the Smithsonian, documents were sourced from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Getty Archives in Los Angeles, and the Canadian Architecture Archives in Calgary. In addition to the document showcases, the installation featured a 3 minute video, Wilderness Utopia, and a two-part sculpture Private Enterprise | Public Spirit, each with their own project page on this website.


Documentation: Installation views; views of showcases 1 through 4; layout views of showcases 1 and 2; details of three showcase documents, Financial Post, July 30, 1955, Colliers Magazine, October 2, 1953, Canadian Art, November, 1960


Terence Gower, 2008

Aluminum sculptures, digital video projection, four showcases with documents and artworks

Curator: Anne Ellegood

Showcase layout: James Peel



Text: Showcase Guides


Brochure: Public Spirit


Text: Roulotte Magazine


Article: Washington Post


Article: Onsite Review


Link: National Post


Link: Canadian Architect


Link: Treehugger


Related Work: Private Enterprise | Public Spirit


Related Work: Wilderness Utopia