Sundays with the Modern offers unique perspectives on the Museum’s current exhibitions. Artists, art historians, critics, writers, and architects hold conversations and lead tours in the galleries. This special program is free and begins at 1 pm on the first Sunday of selected months.
Laurie Simmons is a New York–based artist and filmmaker renowned since the mid-1970s for her psychologically and formally profound work. Her iconic, large-scale, black-and-white photograph Walking House, 1989, was recently acquired by the Modern and is featured in the current exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video. Having garnered an international reputation as one of the leading artists to emerge from the New York Pictures Generation of the 1970s and 1980s, Simmons has thoughtfully and methodically moved through her various photographic series, such as Early Black and White Interiors, 1976–78, in which pseudo-realities are created by staging miniature spaces with dollhouse furniture and other banal props; and Walking & Lying Objects, 1987–91, a series of black-and-white photographs of inanimate objects animated with human legs. Her most recent bodies of work—Kigurumi, inspired by a sub-genre of Japanese “costume play,” and How We See—present a transformative social experience and relate it to our relationship with social media. She continuously updates and maximizes photography’s attributes, stating early on in the 1983 exhibition catalogue In and Around the House, “I love the photographic image, the way scale can become meaningless and everything is unified within the surface. I now see that that kind of ambiguity is what drew me to working with the camera in the first place.”
For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, Laurie Simmons talks about her most recent photographic series and her upcoming feature film.
Sina Najafi is editor-in-chief of Cabinet magazine, editorial director of Cabinet Books, and, together with Jeffrey Kastner, commissioning editor of the essays for the 2013 Venice Biennale catalogue. Najafi has curated or co-curated a number of exhibitions and projects, including “Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates” at White Columns and the Queens Museum of Art in New York in 2005, which is the subject of this Tuesday Evenings presentation. Najafi explains, “In the early 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark discovered that the nearly bankrupt City of New York was auctioning off a large number of improbably tiny and frequently inaccessible parcels of land created by the exigencies of urban development. Fascinated by these eccentric spaces, he bought fifteen of them (fourteen in Queens, and one in Staten Island) for between $25 and $75 each, photographed them, and then collated the photographs with the associated deeds and maps. These collected materials are today known as Fake Estates. Over the next years, he considered using them as sites for his unique brand of ‘anarchitectural’ intervention into urban space but none of his plans were realized before he died in 1978. The materials that he had assembled went into storage and were not rediscovered until the early 1990s, when they were assembled into collages and exhibited as artworks by Matta-Clark, not without some controversy. Today, we can read Fake Estatesas oblique and poetic commentary on many of Matta-Clark’s signature themes, including property, materiality, and disappearance, but as posthumously produced artworks, they also raise many questions concerning the relationship between authorship, authority, work, documentation and, in the final instance, the writing of history.”
Sina Najafi’s Tuesday Evenings talk presents the intricacies of Matta-Clark’s original project alongside a critical examination of Cabinet magazine’s 2005 exhibition on Fake Estates.
Mario García Torres is a Mexico City–based conceptual artist who addresses the ways in which art and information are constructed over time. García Torres’s ambitious and reflective work has garnered him a substantial exhibition record, including the Modern’s FOCUS: Mario García Torres this spring, a recent solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and international shows such as the 8th Berlin Biennale, 2014; 9th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2013; Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany, 2012; 29th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil, 2010; and 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007. Known for his examination of 1960s and 1970s conceptual art, García Torres explains his process of research, examination, conflation, and re-imaging. “I see the art stories I sometimes use as starting points to begin research. Then, they become excuses to talk about something else.”
For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, García Torres is in conversation with musician and collaborator J.D. Whittenburg as well as FOCUS: Mario García Torres curator Alison Hearst.
Philip-Lorca diCorcia, known for creating images poised between documentary and theatrically staged photography, has had a dynamic career with acclaimed international exhibitions, including a major survey of ’his work organized by the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in 2013 that traveled to the De Pont Museum in Tilburg, Netherlands, and The Hepworth Wakefield in England. DiCorcia employs photography as a fictive medium capable of creating uncanny, complex realities out of seemingly straightforward compositions. As such, his work is based on the dichotomy between fact and fiction and asks the viewer to question the assumed truths that the photographic image offers. Such is certainly the case in the artist’s Hustlers series, 1990–92, of which the Modern has acquired Tim Morgan Jr., 21 years old, Los Angeles, California, $25 / Joe Egure, 18 years old, Los Angeles, California, $25, 1990–92, featured in the museum’s current exhibition Framing Desire: Photography and Video.
Tom Sachs, described by Emma Allen for the New Yorkeras a “mix of mad scientist, obsessive tinkerer, cult guru, taskmaster general, starry-eyed theoretician, and workout champion,” is an original advocate of bricolage, or DIY, and one of today’s most inspiring and influential sculptors. Best known for elaborate and innovative re-creations of various Modern icons, re-creations that are masterpieces of engineering and design of one kind or another, Sachs explains, “I’m obsessed with innovation. It’s like that David Foster Wallace thing: If you worship money, you’ll always feel poor. If you worship beauty, you’ll always feel ugly. If you worship power, you always feel powerless. I worship innovation and I always feel like I’m not doing enough new stuff. That’s my impulsiveness.”
With his current exhibition Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015 on view at The Contemporary Austin, Sachs joins us for this Tuesday Evenings presentation, sharing the work and ideas that have garnered him a devoted and noted following.
Modern curator Andrea Karnes is in conversation with Misty Keasler and Allison V. Smith, two artists featured in Framing Desire: Photography and Video. This Tuesday Evenings presentation introduces the exhibition and its premise of photography and video conjuring desire as seen specifically within the work of Keasler and Smith, two artists from within our community. Karnes, curator of Framing Desire, has structured the exhibition under three themes: Ages, Rooms, and Scapes – an updated take on the more traditional subjects of portraiture, architecture, and landscape. Works by Keasler and Smith are being considered under the theme of Rooms, which is described by Karnes as, among other things, artists scrutinizing “how such structures function in our lives and how they can spark voyeurism, recall a time and place, or fulfill the desire to see a space we have not experienced firsthand.”
Misty Keasler focuses on intimate portraits of people or the spaces they occupy, most notably the love hotels of Japan, while Allison V. Smith, a freelance editorial and fine art photographer, is recognized for iconic images from her travels, including photographs in and around Marfa, a different kind of intimate presentation of place. For Tuesday Evenings, each artist offers insight into their individual work as they also discuss the exhibition as a whole and their place within it.
Curator of Education, Terri Thornton's blog post following this lecture.
A video recording of this lectures is available on the Modern's Youtube channel.
Jonathan Schipper is a New York–based artist known for large-scale, self-destructing works. Perhaps best known for Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle,the imperceptibly slow crashing together of two full-sized automobiles over a period of six days that simulates a head-on collision, Schipper is a keen critic of our fast-paced, heedless existence. His methodical deconstruction, and sometimes reconstruction, of daily experience brings our otherwise oblivious existence into sharp focus. This time-based work elongates and amplifies the split second that we continuously overlook, reminding us of a physical engagement that requires our presence, our awareness.
For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, Schipper shares his ideas and methods for producing what he has noted as “objects that wrap themselves around your gut, take hold of your imagination and move you towards new locations and thoughts,” anticipating his solo exhibition that opens March 28 at Fort Worth Contemporary Art of TCU Art Galleries.
Janet Zweig, a New York–based artist working primarily in the public realm, and Dan Maginn, FAIA, a Principal with el dorado inc in Kansas City, have occasionally collaborated with each other on public art projects. “Public art” has the challenging call to thoughtfully engage while broadly appealing to a varied audience. Zweig and Maginn recognize and embrace this challenge. Zweig’s participatory, audience-activated work has been recognized with awards including the Rome Prize, NEA fellowships, and residencies at PS1 Museum. Maginn’s innovative architecture firm, recognized for its building designs and socially minded architecture projects, extends its practice to include collaborating with artists in the public realm. “el dorado’s public art experience is truly unique. . . . We understand the spiritual and emotional potential of public art in addition to all of its requirements regarding constructability, safety and maintenance.”
For Tuesday Evenings, Zweig and Maginn present individual endeavors and recent collaborations, discussing how architects and artists approach problems differently, how successful collaboration between them can unfold, and how collaborating results in surprising and engaging public art.
RongRong&inri, the Chinese/Japanese artist team recognized for romantic photographic series that chronicle their lives together, use this special occasion to offer insight into their unique collaborative practice and their work as featured in FOCUS: RongRong&inri.
A video recording of this lectures is available on the Modern's Youtube channel.