The most conceptually compelling work of art in the Guggenheim’s But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa is also its least visible. Debriefing Session II by Public Movement, a research-driven Israeli collaborative, takes the form of a secret, one-on-one meeting between a Public Movement agent and a participating audience member. Risa Puleo, “A Pair of Performances Exposes the Politics of How Museums Operate,” Hyperallergic, September 28, 2016

Alhena Katsof, Director of Strategy and Protocol for the Israeli performance research group Public Movement, focuses on recent projects with Public Movement, including Debriefing Session II, 2015, and the durational exhibition National Collection, 2015, while touching on other aspects of her work as an independent curator and writer. Reflecting on her collaboration with Dana Yahalomi, Director of Public Movement, Katsof presents a selection of projects that address art and politics in public space. By discussing the ways in which exhibition histories are part of civic choreography, she investigates the relationship between cultural institutions, social ritual, and the nation-state. Drawing on her background within the field of curatorial studies, Katsof examines the participatory nature of politics and, in particular, Public Movement’s recent body of research about Modern art made in Palestine before 1948.

With diverse interests and profound passion as an independent curator, Alhena Katsof has organized exhibitions and performances at White Columns, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Regina Rex, and with Lucie Fontaine. In 2017, she is co-curating the first US-based film commission by the artist duo Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, which will premiere during a solo exhibition at Participant Inc. and travel to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She co-authored the book Solution 263: Double Agent, as part of the Solution Series edited by Ingo Neirmann and published by Sternberg Press (2015), and her writing has appeared in a variety of notable magazines and books, including the upcoming anthology The Artist As Curator, edited by Elena Filipovic and published by Mousse Publishing. In addition to curating and writing, Katsof is a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Photo credit: Public Movement, National Collection, Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Photo by Oz Moalem

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Want to Be Ridiculous?

Sandback was willing to risk his sculptures being nothing at all, and so he was able to create works of art that feel relevant to everything. Adam Lerner on Fred Sandback

Adam Lerner, Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, opens this Tuesday Evenings season with “Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Want to Be Ridiculous?” Believing that institutions can easily lose their connection to the soul of art, Lerner discusses his unconventional approach to keeping the sacred impulse alive. His talk addresses why he brings magicians, go-go dancers, assorted livestock, and other unexpected elements into the walls of the museum alongside serious exhibitions of contemporary art.

Throughout his career, Lerner has curated numerous exhibitions and projects with contemporary artists, such as Barnaby Furnas, Liam Gillick, and Christian Marclay, as well as showcasing the nontraditional talents of astrobiologists, shamans, and pigeoneers, among others. In her 2012 New York Times article “Puppies, Paintings and Philosophers,” Carol Kino states that Lerner’s work to engage audiences is “reshaping what has become a stale model for a contemporary art museum.” Included in Lerner’s many projects is the exhibition Fred Sandback, co-curated with Nora Burnett Abrams at the MCA Denver, which becomes a point of reference for this Tuesday Evenings presentation.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Since the beginning of her career in the mid-1980s, Lorna Simpson has been well known for her conceptual photographs and videos that challenge historical and preconceived views of racial and sexual identity. The artist will speak on the occasion of FOCUS: Lorna Simpson, the first museum exhibition to feature the artist’s large-scale acrylic, ink, and silkscreened paintings.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Unlike most famous artists, KAWS has something few in visual art actually enjoy: rabid fans who wait on line for days just to see what his latest project will be. What makes this even more noteworthy is that he himself is a fan, subject to the same process of collecting stuff as a way of constructing one's identity as the kids around the globe who fetishize his work.

Carlo McCormick, Paper Magazine, November 4, 2013

Carlo McCormick, a critic and curator living in New York City, uses his unique insights and longterm friendship with the artist KAWS to set up the Modern's exhibition KAWS: Where the End Starts. With the perspective of a friend and the concerns of a cultural critic, McCormick wrote in Paper Magazine, for which he is senior editor, “Years ago John Waters told Paper that one of the things he loved best about art was that it was a hermetic little world that totally intimidated most people, and while we must agree with that, there are occasionally those exceptional figures like KAWS, who are able to reach a vast audience in utterly direct ways, that are ultimately transformative.”

Having written extensively on KAWS since early in the artist’s career, McCormick provides an art historical and cultural context for the work seen in this exhibition. His Tuesday Evenings lecture, titled “KAWS and Effect,” offers insight into figurative, narrative, and comic tangents in art that have influenced the work of KAWS. Featuring art from the KAWS’s personal collection, McCormick’s presentation looks at how outré historical figures such as Peter Saul, H. C. Westermann, Martin Wong, Keith Haring, and movements like the Hairy Who in Chicago and postwar Japanese pop have inspired and informed KAWS's own personal iconography and style.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Roberto de Leon and Ross Primmer take a native approach with their practice—no matter the location. David Sokol, “Locally Sourced,” Cultured Magazine, June/July 2015

Roberto de Leon, Jr. / FAIA, LEED AP, a partner and co-founder of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop (DPAW), presents the ideas behind his environmentally and regionally sensitive practice for Tuesday Evenings at the Modern in conjunction with Fort Worth AIA’s 2016 Design Awards.

DPAW is a collaborative design studio focusing on public projects with a cultural, civic, or not-for-profit basis with a working methodology that draws inspiration from regional traditions of craft and fabrication, placing an emphasis on the potential of conventional materials and construction methods. Through an immersive process of research and investigation, the studio cultivates an understanding of contextual specificity as a nuanced relationship between place, time, and local culture. The strength of DPAW’s work has been recognized through numerous honors and awards and has been exhibited at many venues, including, most recently, the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial and the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop purposefully embraces a design rigor aimed at simplicity and precision, with the underlying premise that innovation necessarily equals economy.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Ryan McGinness' approach to art and the art world is sardonic yet earnest, a mature version of the rebellious ethos that defined his youth in 90s skate culture. He’s soft-spoken and very tall, a gentle giant from Virginia Beach, long and far away from his current space on the top floor of a six-story former factory in New York's Chinatown. Beckett Mufson, “Ryan McGinness Thinks You’re Looking at Art Wrong,” The Creators Project, April 22, 2016

Ryan McGinness, a New York–based artist who grew up in the surf and skate culture of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is now known for his extensive vocabulary of original graphic drawings that use the visual language of public signage, corporate logos, and contemporary symbology. For Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, he presents “The Logic of this Work Is Stronger than the Logic of the World in Which it Exists.”

McGinness is credited with elevating the status of the icon to fine art through his paintings, sculptures, installations, and books. Concerned with the perceived value of forms, he assumes the power of this visual language in order to share personal expressions. The New York Times noted, “In the past decade, McGinness has become an art star, thanks to his Warholian mix of pop iconography and silk-screening.” Vogue declared, “Ryan McGinness is a leading pioneer of the new semiotics.”

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Merris’ sensibility is as organic and fluid as it is rigorous, as filled with wonder as it is informed by a sense of scientific reason, and it consistently navigates between such positions, seeing them not as oppositional, but naturally and intimately connected.

Dean Daderko, 2014

October 4: Benjamin Merris

Benjamin Merris brings his sense of wonder and thoughtful consideration of the world around him to Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, sharing his ideas and decisions in making his way and his mark as an artist. Attending Glasgow School of Art in Scotland for his graduate degree, Merris now lives and works in Brooklyn, while traveling and showing internationally.

For their Hudson, New York, inaugural exhibition All Ways Always, Jeff Bailey Gallery wrote that Merris’s paintings, sculpture, photographs, and outdoor installations are “process oriented, and combine painterly abstraction with an embodied naturalism.” This association with nature is signature for Merris, as suggested by many of the exhibitions in which his work is featured or included, such as The Secret Life in summer 2015 at Murray Guy Gallery in New York, which brought together cross-generational artists who “approach the natural world with an intuitive sense of curiosity and profound inventiveness.”

Curator Dean Daderko, who included Merris in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston 2013 group exhibition Outside the Lines, explains the artist’s approach as follows, “Through his various experiments with painting, abstraction, nature and culture, Merris’ sense of play and curiosity is palpable and contagious, arousing and satisfying our curiosity. In his work, Merris seems dedicated to the camper’s edict: ‘leave it better than you found it.’”

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.
Curator of Education, Terri Thornton's blog post following this lecture.

Kandel’s new book “The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain” takes us back to turn-of-the-century Vienna, the place of his birth, and he writes about the salons there, where artists could mingle with writers and physicians and scientists. . . . But this isn't just an art history book. Kandel also gets deep into the science of the mind, what happens in the brain when we see a beautiful work of art, how it affects our emotions, how we recognize objects and faces, too. It is written by a neuroscientist, after all. Ira Flatow, Science Friday, NPR

Eric R. Kandel, MD, University Professor and Kavli Professor at Columbia University, Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Co-director of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and Senior Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, presents on his 2012 book The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, From Vienna 1900 to the Present. Dr. Kandel has received 23 honorary degrees and numerous awards and other forms of recognition in various aspects of his career, including the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000, and The Age of Insight won the Kreisky Award in Literature, Austria's highest literary award.

Dr. Kandel explains, “The central challenge of science in the twenty-first century is to understand the human mind in biological terms. . . . I take up this central scientific challenge in The Age of Insight by focusing on how the new science of mind has begun to engage with art.” To relate present-day brain science to the Modernist painting of Vienna in 1900, he outlines in simple terms our current understanding of the cognitive psychological and neurobiological basis of perception, memory, emotion, empathy, and creativity. He then examines how cognitive psychology and brain biology have joined together to explore how the viewer perceives and responds to art.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.
Curator of Education, Terri Thornton's blog post following this lecture.

My biggest challenge in writing this book has been to leave the series as free as Stella leaves the novel. Before I could set it free however, I had to take it in, to see and to know its proliferating parts. Robert K. Wallace, from “Pictorial Voyage, More Than Meets the Eye” in Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick: Words and Shapes

Robert K. Wallace, Regents Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University and author of many books, including Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick: Words and Shapes, opens our fall 2016 Tuesday Evenings at the Modern season with his lecture “Pursuing Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick in Body, Mind, and Words.” For this special presentation, Wallace shares highlights from his physical and intellectual journey in trying to follow, and then interpret, Frank Stella’s twelve-year pursuit of Melville’s Moby-Dick—from the first prints and painted reliefs of the mid-1980s to the concluding prints, reliefs, and sculptures of the mid-1990s. Beginning in the early 1990s, Wallace interviewed Stella several times a year in his New York studio. He saw prints and sculptures in production at Tyler Graphics and Tallix Foundry, and he traveled to Japan and Europe to see as many of Stella’s Moby-Dick works in person as possible. In the wake of these various kinds of research, the ultimate challenge was to try to convey in words what Stella had achieved in his own pictorial terms in relation to the novel. This is one of our last opportunities to focus on aspects of Frank Stella: A Retrospective before this popular exhibition closes the following Sunday.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Curator of Education, Terri Thornton's blog post following this lecture.

What is a word for collaboration between material will and human intention that implies generation rather than decay?
Martha Tuttle, artist statement

Martha Tuttle is a New York-based artist whose solo debut, Martha Tuttle: Metaxu, at Tilton Gallery in New York, brought her most recent body of work critical attention, with David Ebony describing it as “understated and graceful” in his “Top 10 New York Gallery Shows This Winter.” Cait Munro reviewed the show for artnet news, writing, “While mass production and digitization continue to dominate the contemporary art conversation, 26-year old Martha Tuttle . . . is doing something refreshingly measured and tactile.” As the daughter of poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge and artist Richard Tuttle, and having spent a great deal of her childhood in New Mexico, Martha Tuttle has an affinity for natural materials and meditative processes. She rigorously dyes, rubs, folds, weaves, and beats her materials, which include silk, wool, paper, hematite, woad, indigo, and logwood, into her luminous abstract wall reliefs that are clearly cared into being. Quoted in Munro’s review, Tuttle comments, “It’s important to me to be able to touch every part of something that I make. I find that if I spend a long time with something, it heightens that relationship that I have with it.”

For Tuesday Evenings, Martha Tuttle shares her thoughts and experiences in the making of her work. 

Martha Tuttle was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1989. She graduated from Bard College in 2011 and received her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from The Yale School of Art in 2015. She has held residencies at the New Mexico School of Poetics in Ojo Caliente in 2012, and in Grinnell, Iowa, in 2011. She received a Josef Albers Foundation Travelling Fellowship, as well as the Donald C. Gallup Research Fellowship from the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Yale University, in 2014. She has exhibited her work in group shows throughout the US and Europe, and recently had her first solo exhibition in New York. She currently lives and works in New York.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Curator of Education, Terri Thornton's blog post following this lecture.