Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Flora

September 5, 2021 - January 16, 2022
Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler  Flora, 2017

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler 
Flora, 2017 
Synchronized double-sided film installation
Shared soundtrack, 12 audio channels; 30 minutes, loop
Overall dimensions vary with installation
Museum purchase, The Friends of Art Endowment Fund

September 5, 2021 - January 16, 2022

Two important new works by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, Flora and Bust, both 2017, have joined the Modern’s permanent collection, which already includes their Grand Paris Texas, 2009, and Holes, 1997. Flora is based on Hubbard / Birchler’s discoveries about the unknown American artist Flora Mayo, with whom the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti had a love affair in Paris in the 1920s. While Giacometti is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, Mayo’s oeuvre has been destroyed and her biography relegated to a footnote in Giacometti scholarship. 

Interweaving reconstruction, reenactment, and documentary into a hybrid form of storytelling, Hubbard / Birchler reframe history through a feminist perspective and bring Mayo’s compelling biography to life. The double-sided film installation is conceived as a conversation between Flora Mayo and her son, David Mayo—whom the artists discovered after an exhaustive international search. Flora unfurls as a multifaceted dialogue across time, between a mother and son, Mayo and Giacometti, Europe and the United States, art history and contemporary life, evidence and imagination.

Bust is inspired by a photograph of Mayo and Giacometti flanking a portrait bust she made of him. The work expands the formal and conceptual layers of Hubbard / Birchler’s storytelling, juxtaposing Flora’s narrative of ephemerality and loss with the tangible re-imagining of the sculpture. Flora and Bust premiered in the Swiss Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale and will be on view at the Modern from September 5, 2021, through January 16, 2022. The site-responsive installation will include items related to the works’ genesis, on loan from the artists.

Read the full interview with the artists here.

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Bust, 2017

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler
Bust, 2017 
Flora Mayo and Alberto Giacometti, with the bust she made of him, circa 1927. Photographer unknown. Original photograph belonging to Flora Mayo, kept under her mattress, lost. Film negative missing. Reproduction from only known duplicate print, archive of Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur. Original clay bust portrait of Alberto Giacometti by Flora Mayo, lost. Reconstructed and cast in brass. 
Framed silver gelatin print: 34 5/8 × 28 3/8 inches
Brass sculpture with concrete base: 60 5/8 × 18 7/8 × 21 inches
Museum purchase, The Friends of Art Endowment Fund

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler 
Flora, 2017 
Synchronized double-sided film installation
Shared soundtrack, 12 audio channels; 30 minutes, loop
Overall dimensions vary with installation
Museum purchase, The Friends of Art Endowment Fund