We are sandwiched between the “real” world and cyberspace, and through acceleration and diffusion of attention, we accept such changes rapidly. Before doubts are even formed, our thoughts are interrupted by funny videos sent by friends, or by our ecstasy for the hundreds of “likes” that a selfie earns in ten minutes. More is less. Everything is a datum, and everything performs for data. We critique and dance at the same time. By the time we are about to leave this world, we might feel like we have never lived.
—Cao Fei, quoted in Alison Hearst’s essay “The Global Village” in the exhibition catalogue, I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen
Alison Hearst, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth curator, opens her catalogue essay “Global Village” for the Modern’s I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen with a poignant quote by Cao Fei, an artist featured in Hearst’s timely exhibition. In this opening essay, Hearst acknowledges that Fei “sums up some of the ways that today’s hybrid world overlays so-called reality with a life that is increasingly lived through screens.” With that, Hearst launches her own investigation, celebration, and critique of “art and the digital screen” with an ambitious installation of work by no less than fifty artists who map and illuminate a history that increasingly forms and defines us, serving as a mirror.
For Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, Alison Hearst shares her fascination with the subject matter and planning of the exhibition and reveals her findings through the works of artists who are credited with art’s turn toward the digital and all that it represents, as well as younger artists uncovering new ground in today’s all-consuming digital age.
Alison Hearst is curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. She curated the museum’s FOCUS exhibition series from 2015–2022, and has presented solo exhibitions of artists including Fred Tomaselli, Mario García Torres, Joyce Pensato, Jill Magid, Martine Gutierrez, Thomas Demand, Lorna Simpson, Analia Saban, Jamal Cyrus, and Stanley Whitney, amongst others. In 2019, she organized the twenty-year survey Robyn O’Neil: WE, THE MASSES. Hearst was the curator of Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings, which traveled to the Lowe Art Museum, Miami; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; and the Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln. Hearst served as assistant curator of the major exhibitions Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s and México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990. In addition to her FOCUS publications, she is the editor of and a contributing author to Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings, and a contributing author to México Inside Out: Themes in Art Since 1990, Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, and Katherine Bernhardt: Swatches. She received a MA in Art History from Texas Christian University, and a BFA in Art History from the University of North Texas.