Sundays with the Modern offers unique perspectives on special exhibitions, with artists, curators, art historians, and writers holding conversations in the galleries. This program is free and begins at 1 pm on the first Sunday of selected months. In conjunction with México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, these special gallery talks feature artists included in the exhibition.
Melanie Smith, born in Poole, England and living and working in Mexico City since 1989, is an artist whose work has been characterized as a re-reading of the formal and aesthetic categories of avant-garde movements. Recognized nationally and internationally for work intimately related to a certain expanded vision of the notion of modernity - with a particular understanding of what this means in Latin America, especially Mexico - Smith was chosen in 2011 to represent Mexico with Red Square Impossible Pink for the 54th Venice Biennale.
In an interview with Alison Hearst in the exhibition catalogue for México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, Smith gives a sense of Mexico City and her own development as an artist in a dynamic, if sometimes challenging, time and place, explaining, "It is all these little, hazy, fractured zones and unknowns that we live in here in Mexico that interest me. . . . I see how people live in Europe; I don't know if I'm necessarily interested in that way of living. I think these pockets [of ambiguity] in Mexico City create potentialities." For Tuesday Evenings at the Modern she presents "Melanie Smith. Skewed vision: in and out of Mexico."
José Antonio Vega Macotela, a Mexico City-based artist, is represented in México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990 with work from his poignant and long-standing project Time Divisa (Time Exchange), a series of exchanges with prisoners explained by the artist as an outcome of his interest in the concept of time - the idea of "doing time" making prisons a rich source of exploration. Laying out the physical realities and philosophical ties of Time Divisa, a May 2011 article for Artforum by Chus Martínez explains that "the true politics of Macotela's enterprise is premised on his articulation of possibilities for agency, solidarity, and even trust within this system - and by extension, across the 'carceral continuum' that Foucault envisioned as contiguous with society as a whole."
Vega Macotela's ambitious ideas and poetic manifestations, as found in work such as Time Divisa and the more recent investigations of his Study of Exhaustion series, have brought the artist a great deal of attention and success, with recent solo exhibitions in Los Angeles and El Paso, an artist-residency at Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam in 2011, inclusion in the New Museum's second triennial exhibition The Ungovernables, and the third Poly/Graphic Triennial of Puerto Rico in 2012, as well as this year's Transitios at Artpace in San Antonio.
For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, Jose Antonio Vega Macotela shares his use of art as a tool for shifting, resignifying, and recontextualizing the meaning of everyday life as he focuses on the past three years of his work.
James Timberlake, FAIA, is a founding partner of KieranTimberlake, an internationally recognized architecture firm based in Philadelphia and recipient of numerous honors including the 2008 AIA Architecture Firm Award and the 2010 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award. By undertaking a path of research into new materials and potential technologies that alter fabrication and delivery methods and influence the way we live in our environments, KieranTimberlake tackles broad questions such as: How do we reconcile the contradictory demands for low energy and abundant natural light? How do we recover the embodied energy in a building? How do we achieve greater quality and environmental responsibility in less time?
In conjunction with AIA Fort Worth's annual Design Awards, the Modern invites you to join James Timberlake, this year's lead juror, as he discusses inquisitive approaches to clients' needs, as well as the needs of the environment, and how that has broadened his firm's vision of the relationship between process, craft, and form in this Tuesday Evenings presentation titled "Inquiry."
Andy Coolquitt, an Austin-based artist, creates installations that are activated through casual but precise arrangements, suggesting purpose and relationships between elements made of what Coolquitt terms "somebodymades," as well as manipulated and combined flotsam and jetsam of the artist's urban environment. Stephanie Buhmann of the Brooklyn Rail writes, "Coolquitt's crops find meaning primarily through re-organization. Combined and fused into larger constructions, these objects are reincarnated." Coolquitt himself explains his practice as an "interest in basically, creating a place . . . all these objects are just things I can use to that end."
Coolquitt has shown from Milan, to Berlin, to New York, to Vienna, to closer to home with a recent solo exhibition, attainable excellence, organized by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston and opening at AMOA_Arthouse in Austin in fall 2012, as well as having an artist's residency and exhibition this summer at 21er Haus in Vienna, Austria. Despite his international exhibition history, Coolquitt has actually had a quiet and steady career rooted in his domestic setting. In fact, he is perhaps best known for a house, a performance/studio/domestic space that began as his master's thesis project at the University of Texas in 1994 and continues to the present day.
For Tuesday Evenings at the Modern Andy Coolquitt presents "You Had to Be There."
This special Tuesday Evenings presentation features artist Gabriel Kuri in conversation with Tyler Green for a live-audience taping of an episode of The Modern Art Notes Podcast.
Gabriel Kuri's poetic works composed of materials accumulated from the flux of life are showcased in the Modern's current exhibition México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990. Born in Mexico, Kuri is an international artist who lives and works in Mexico City, Brussels, and Los Angeles. He has shown internationally for more than fifteen years, with inclusion in renowned group exhibitions such as ILLUMINations, the curated exhibition for the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, the 5th Berlin Biennale in 2008, the critically acclaimed Brave New Worlds at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Unmonumental at the New Museum in New York in 2007, as well as recent solo exhibitions in Norway, Beirut, Mexico City, London, Berlin, Boston, and Houston.
The Modern Art Notes Podcast is the most-listened-to audio program on art in the United States. Guests have included artists Richard Serra, Robert Irwin, Julie Mehretu, Sophie Calle, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Adams, Shirin Neshat, Fred Wilson, Barbara Kruger, Francis Alÿs, Carrie Mae Weems, Mark Bradford, and Chris Burden; art historians Leah Dickerman, David Anfam, Helen Langdon, Stephanie Barron, Michael Auping, and Jonathan Brown; and Pulitzer Prize-winners Mark Stevens, Sebastian Smee, and Paul Goldberger. The Modern is happy to serve as the location of a Modern Art Notes Podcast with Gabriel Kuri for Tuesday Evenings at the Modern.
Gabriel Kuri's profound ideas as realized in his artistic practice, in combination with Tyler Green's fascination with and commitment to art, make this Tuesday Evenings presentation a promising hour of insights and meaningful information.
Michelle Grabner, artist, critic, professor, gallery director, and co-curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial
Michelle Grabner is a Chicago-based artist, curator, art writer, Professor and Chair of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, senior critic for Yale University in painting and printmaking, and a curator of the 2014 Whitney Biennial – is a dynamic force who has been at the fore of the art world with her ambitious and varied initiatives for some time.
Staying attuned to what is vital and relevant locally, nationally, and internationally, Grabner operates her practice as an artist and provocateur from her Midwest locale and roots. In partnership with her husband, artist Brad Killam, she has run the small but dogged art space The Suburban located behind her Chicago home for fourteen years. More recently, the couple began the Poor Farm, an international alternative art center in rural Wisconsin.
As one of three curators for the upcoming Whitney Biennial, Grabner is quite possibly the first to identify principally as an artist. With a traveling survey exhibition of her work organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland opening this fall, her friend and mentor David Robbins explains, “Michelle wears a lot of hats but she’s an artist first and last. Artists have a different agenda than do curators, a different relation to history. . . . So with Michelle’s participation [as a curator of the Whitney Biennial] we may see a greater openness to artists who have independently developed valuation systems and uses for art that depart from those reinforced by academe and the marketplace.”
Championing good art wherever it might be found, Michelle Grabner speaks on her own work, her exhibition spaces, and the process of curating the Whitney Biennial in “The Center Doesn’t Hold” for Tuesday Evenings at the Modern.
Andrea Karnes, curator of México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990
Modern curator Andrea Karnes, who has brought some of the Museum’s most challenging and engaging exhibitions to Modern audiences—including Hubbard/Birchler: No Room to Answer in 2009, Pretty Baby in 2007, and Pierre Huyghe: One Million + Kingdoms in 2005, as well as all of the FOCUS series exhibitions to date—is now credited with curating and organizing the Museum’s current exhibition, the highly ambitious and poignant México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990.
In her catalogue essay “Outside In,” Karnes states, “The artists included in México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990 shed light on sociopolitical aspects of life through their works. Although they are on individual paths, they share an association with Mexico and have formal and conceptual similarities, such as the near abandonment of painting (with a few exceptions of those who incorporate it, but not as a sole medium) in favor of sculpture, found objects, installation, performance, video, photography, drawing, and collage. They are also connected through intense explorations of daily life, from the ordinary to the complex, which are discussed in this essay as a way of introducing these artists and their works in three overarching themes: building contemporary monuments, interrogating power structures, and magnifying the everyday. While these themes are often mined through topics local to Mexico, more times than not they also extend outward into a global arena.”
For this special Tuesday Evenings presentation, “On the Daily,” Karnes sets the stage for experiencing the exhibition by discussing its highlights and themes, revealing what is both unified and divergent about the artists whose work she selected for Inside Out.
Lecture: Mexican Contemporary Art and the Art Historical Canon
Thursday, September 12, 6 to 7 pm, with book signing to follow
In conjunction with the recent publication of Art and Architecture in Mexico, author James Oles provides insight into the process behind writing the first comprehensive survey of Mexican art in almost half a century. Oles explores how art history surveys were previously crafted by scholars and museum curators, and he discusses the benefits and pitfalls of taking a long rather than tightly focused view of Mexican art history. Rather than emphasize continuity over time, the book emphasizes cross-generational connections, and much of the talk focuses on the historical context—direct and indirect—that informs the work of Mexico’s vibrant contemporary artists, several of whom—such as Francis Alÿs, Melanie Smith, and Teresa Margolles—are included in the Modern’s current exhibition, México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990.
Francis Alÿs, artist featured in México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, in conversation with James Oles, scholar of the art and architecture of Mexico
For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, Belgium-born and Mexico City–based artist Francis Alÿs is in conversation with art historian James Oles, discussing relationships between the artist’s early and current work.
Alÿs is one of the most important contemporary artists working today, with a practice that embraces multiple media, spanning painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Having exhibitions throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe—including dOCUMENTA (13) and, most recently, a two-part exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo—Alÿs’s extraordinary practice has been lauded by many. Mark Godfrey, in his opening essay for Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception, a major survey that opened at Tate Modern in London and closed at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2011, writes, “What makes Francis Alÿs’s practice one of the most compelling in recent art is that he manages to find poetic and imaginative ways to address the urgent political and economic crises of contemporary life.”
Oles divides his time between Mexico City and suburban Boston, where he teaches Latin American art at Wellesley College and serves as adjunct curator of Latin American art at the Davis Museum, where Alÿs was given his first one-man show in the Boston area in 2012. Oles has most recently written a survey textbook, Art and Architecture in Mexico, published by Thames and Hudson.
Alÿs and Oles have been friends for over two decades, and this relationship, as well as their obvious insight into Alÿs’s work, makes this a special presentation that also serves as a preview for México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, which opens to the public on September 15.