Mike Smith is a performance and video installation artist whose work was most recently included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and is the subject of the career survey Mike’s World. In the 1970s Smith created the persona “Mike” which he describes as “the human equivalent of a supermarket generic brand.” Smith’s work reveals great truths in its bland presentation of the “everyman” as seen in this Tuesday Evenings presentation, A Night with Mike.
Walid Raad is a New York based artist who generally addresses the contemporary history of his native Lebanon with conceptual work that tackles the representation of traumatic events and collective history through fictitious and factual means. In 1999 Raad founded The Atlas Group and for Tuesday Evenings he presents The Loudest Muttering is Over. Documents from The Atlas Group Archive, a mixed-media presentation of The Atlas Group’s archival material inspired by obscure historical circumstances.
Laura Anderson Barbata is an artist born in Mexico who now lives and works in New York and Mexico City. Working in photography, video, drawing, sculpture, installation, and public art, Barbata has made a name for herself with exhibitions and performances most recently at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and throughout Latin America and Europe. Since 1992 she has worked primarily in the social realm, initiating projects in the Amazon of Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, Mexico, and New York City. She currently works with the performing group known as the Brooklyn Jumbies, who will perform under her direction and in collaboration with Fort Worth’s Amphibian Productions at the Modern on November 22. For Tuesday Evenings, Barbata presents her work and the way it has taken her from conventional studio practice to a broader engagement with her surroundings.
Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler are the Swiss/American collaborative team whose work is featured in the Modern’s exhibition No Room to Answer, organized by Andrea Karnes. The exhibition is the duo’s first major survey in an American museum, but their video, photography, and sculpture has been recognized and well received in Europe since 1990, when the couple was still in graduate school at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Since that time they have shown extensively, with recent solo exhibitions at venues including the Miami Art Museum, K21 Kunstsammlung Nordhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf, the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin, as well as the Venice and Liverpool biennials. For Tuesday Evenings, Hubbard and Birchler present the thoughts and means by which they produce mesmerizing, even haunting video imagery that captures what has been described for the Liverpool Biennial as the “momentary narrative” of a solitary figure in an architecturally constructed space and time.
Donald Moffett is a New York–based artist known for working across artistic categories and media on carefully produced, thoughtfully considered, and visually stunning works that serve as means to often political or social ends. For Tuesday Evenings, he presents the compelling works of a career spanning more than two decades. A founding member of Gran Fury, a 1980s AIDS activist collective, Moffett creates abstract paintings, often with sculptural elements and as part of installations complete with aptly chosen music and projections, that manipulate the history and conventions of painting to address political and social issues of the day. In 2007, Dan Fox wrote for frieze magazine, “for Moffett, painting is used as a kind of aesthetic compressor concentrating the very real concerns and complexities of identity politics and human sexuality into a hard-hitting, high-tension visual experience.” Moffett’s practice has also been described as “using the unlikely choice of abstract painting to ruminate on death, desire, power, and scandal.”
Michael Auping, the Museum’s chief curator, discusses the Tadao Ando–designed gallery spaces of the Modern from a behind-the-scenes curatorial viewpoint in Installing the Modern. For this enlightening presentation, Auping shares his choices for pairing certain key works from the collection with different spaces in the museum; specifically Anselm Kiefer’s Book with Wings, Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington, Richard Serra’s Vortex, Carl Andre’s Slit, and the new acquisition and placement of Roxy Paine’s stainless steel trees, Conjoined. It is always rewarding to hear from Auping, as he has been a favorite of the Tuesday Evenings series throughout the life of this program, bringing his knowledge, vast experience, and quick wit to the various subjects he has presented over the years. This is sure to be another popular event, so arrive early to claim a seat.
Lawrence Speck, FAIA, is based in Austin, where he has been on the faculty of the University of Texas since 1975. Well respected within his field, Speck has gained considerable national and international recognition for his work as an architect, an architectural critic, and an academic. His professional work includes such Texas landmarks as the Austin Bergstrom International Airport, the Austin Convention Center (both phases), and the architecture for Discovery Green, a new twelve-acre park in downtown Houston. As well as being a prolific designer and builder, Speck has contributed significantly to the development of ideas and direction in his field. He has authored two books, the most recent of which is Technology, Sustainability, and Cultural Identity. For Tuesday Evenings, Speck shares his designs, projects, and the lessons of his career in Recent Work and Thoughts.
Hans Christ and Iris Dressler are the co-directors of the Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart. The team has proven themselves to be innovators in the promotion and presentation of art with a string of endeavors and accomplishments including the founding of Hartware Medien Kunst Verein as an independent platform for the presentation of contemporary art in 1996. Throughout their careers the team has organized impressive exhibitions that reflect the seriousness of their scholarship and their passion for contemporary art, including most recently Stan Douglas: Past Imperfect in 2007 and Contenance in 2005. The latter included the work of Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, the artists featured in the Modern’s exhibition No Room to Answer. For this Tuesday Evening presentation, Christ and Dressler present the current direction of video art, including the work of artists such as Stan Douglas, while focusing on the career of Hubbard and Birchler.
Kara Walker, whose work is featured in the Modern’s current exhibition My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, presents the ideas and issues behind her compelling installations, drawings, paintings, and text-based works, which are as disturbing as they are beautiful. Walker’s unforgiving representation of the complex dynamics and ramifications of slavery has been the subject of much praise and controversy. It is work that challenges its viewer and its maker. As Walker explains, “It’s interesting that as soon as you start telling the story of racism, you start reliving the story. You keep creating a monster that swallows you. But as long as there’s a Darfur, as long as there are people saying ‘Hey, you don’t belong here’ to others, it only seems realistic to continue investigating the terrain of racism.” This Tuesday Evening presentation offers insight into works of art that rattle and reconfigure historical perceptions, nudging and posing questions about personal and collective views on issues of race, gender, and sexuality.
Richard Wentworth has been a leading figure in New British Sculpture since the late 1970s. Celebrated as an art intellectual, Wentworth has long been respected as an artist, writer, teacher, and curator. His work has been featured in significant exhibitions including the 50th Venice Biennale and Global Cities at the Tate Modern. He is also readily recognized for organizing Thinking Aloud, the critically acclaimed exhibition that opened at the Hayward Gallery in 1999 and followed with a national tour. Favoring everyday materials and objects over monumental gestures, Wentworth has transformed expectations and considerations of sculpture, saying in a conversation with the critic Stuart Morgan, “I find cigarette packets folded up under table legs more monumental than a Henry Moore. Five reasons. Firstly the scale. Secondly, the fingertip manipulation. Thirdly, modesty of both gesture and material. Fourth, its absurdity, and fifth, the fact that it works.” In his Tuesday Evenings presentation Walking Through Hedges Backwards, Wentworth presents his photographs, sculptures, and installations, which tease our expectations of art and position us to reconsider the visual world and our perceptions of it.