I think the Hirshorn is my favorite Smithsonian museum. It has taken me some time but I have really grown to appreciate conceptual art. I think what most people don't understand about conceptual art is that, well, it's conceptual; that one needs to understand, or at least know, what the concept is to appreciate it. The design is not in the aesthetic like "normal" or picturesque art.
Going to the Friday gallery talks has really helped me to understand this. For example, this past week's talk. When you first look at the singular work, it is slightly underwhelming, but has an overal pleasant calming effect. But when you look closer you see that the "ripples" are made of numbers, which is intriguing, and made me appreciate the effort and time that it must have taken to create the work. But only after having learned the context of the work (that it is part of a life long series), and the nature of the artist does the artwork truly come alive. I like this aspect of conceptual art. The more you learn about it and the more you discuss it the more it comes alive. I think this is why I love art education. Helping people to ask questions and understand why works are as exciting as they are is really exciting for me.
Another work I found really inspiring from the art education context was the "Condensation Box". It just allowed me to imagine showing and discussing with a group of young students, how it was built, how the condensation stays in there, etc. Then being able to take those ideas and apply them to a science class. It helps me to see that art can be collaborative in many, many ways, and the more we collaborate, on specific works, in our own education, and while educating others the more rich each art experience will be.