Upcoming Exhibitions at the Modern
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has announced their Fall 2021-Spring 2022 exhibition schedule.
Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Flora
September 5, 2021–January 2, 2022
Two important 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. The site-responsive installation at the Modern will include items related to the works’ genesis, on loan from the artists.
November 7, 2021-January 30, 2022
Milton Avery is considered one of North America’s greatest 20th-century colorists. His career fell between the movements of the American Impressionists and the Abstract Expressionists, leaving him to forge a staunchly independent path. This comprehensive exhibition brings together a selection of approximately 70 paintings from the 1910s to the mid-1960s that are among his most celebrated. These works typically feature scenes of daily life, including portraits of loved ones and serene landscapes from his visits to Maine and Cape Cod. The color sensibility and balance that run throughout his work had a major influence on the next generation of artists.
Organized by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. Curated by Edith Devaney with the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
FOCUS: Frances Stark
November 19, 2021–January 9, 2022
Frances Stark is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in Los Angeles whose work is always evolving. Stark’s output comes in many forms, including painting, video, collage, performance, and drawing. Her singular artistic voice arises from her own experiences; as the New York Times described it, “The artist’s material is her life.” A group of works will reflect a particular subject or theme she is engaged in or reading about—pedagogy, literature, colleagues, relationships, art, music, sex, procrastination, motherhood—and while of personal interest to the artist, the subjects are wholly universal, relatable, and rendered accessible through Stark’s sincerity and her witty combinations of image and language. Her ability to find humor and poetry in even the most mundane aspects of daily life and society led the Los Angeles Times to declare her “the visual poet laureate of the internet age.”
In recent paintings, such as Reading Henry Miller’s Air-Conditioned Nightmare from the mid-1940’s, 2019, and Ian F. Svenonius’s “Censorship Now” for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, 2017, Stark captures in graphic detail different books she is reading. As she has recently stated on these paintings, “I’m not making a syllabus but rather capturing these haptic engagements with (mostly) American voices critical of empire. And then there’s the choice to paint, the re-orientation/transposition of long-form thought, my own battle with an inability to write and utter failure to feel stabilized by any sense of value or agency.” For the Censorship Now series, Stark made exceedingly enlarged double-page spreads from the iconic punk musician Ian Svenonius’s 2015 manifesto—a tome containing serious reflections on and critiques of American culture, particularly pop culture and mass media, that is veiled in playful irony and satire and ultimately calls for universal censorship in order to free humankind. Though tongue-in-cheek, Svenonius’s text aims to dislodge our prescribed ways of thinking. For the paintings, Stark painstakingly reproduced her copy of Censorship Now!!!, replete with her charmingly handwritten annotations, adding the layer of her as a reader and editor into the work, while also sharing her platform—the Whitney Biennial—with an underground voice. Both the text and the paintings are provocative and show Stark’s continued interest in language and the potential for art to catalyze.
FOCUS: Jill Magid
January 21–March 20, 2022
Throughout Jill Magid’s career, she has carried out extraordinary tasks for her research, such as forging highly intimate connections with faceless, bureaucratic systems. The New York–based artist implants herself into established systems of control and authority in order to study such structures from within. As part of her performance-based practice, she has worked alongside the executors of an architect’s estate to exhume the deceased, starred in CCTV films, and trained as a spy, police officer, and journalist in Afghanistan. Her work melds art and life and points to the interconnectedness, as well as strains and absurdities, among individuals and the institutions and authority figures regulating them.
For her exhibition at the Modern, the artist will show the film Tender Balance alongside related works that expand upon her 2020 Creative Time public artwork, Tender. As the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding, the artist noticed how public figureheads often framed and diminished the value of lives lost in sharp relief to their descriptions of the country’s perceived economic toll. Tender is a response to and reflection of these circumstances and began as a discreet public intervention where Magid disseminated 120,000 newly minted 2020 pennies—the monetary equivalent to the stimulus relief checks issued by the CARES Act to American individuals—into the US economy. The edge of each coin is engraved with the phrase “THE BODY WAS ALREADY SO FRAGILE.” The pennies subtly entered the public’s hands via bodegas scattered throughout New York City’s five boroughs. These sites and exchanges are chronicled in the film Tender Balance and highlight the daily, intimate human connections with neighbors that turned rife with anxiety and fear throughout the pandemic. The film also follows the path of the coins from the mint to the wider public—a course not unlike a pathogen—and demonstrates systems of circulation on both intimate and grand scales. Magid’s work speaks to the vulnerability of the human body, our economic systems, and interpersonal exchanges, and it poetically reflects on a global crisis and its effect on the individual as well as the body politic.
FOCUS: Jamal Cyrus
April 1–June 26, 2022
Houston-based artist Jamal Cyrus’s sculpture, assemblages, performances, and paintings examine Black American histories and social movements, as well as cultural traditions within the African diaspora. Seeking self-education and historical rectification, the artist focuses on the forgotten, ignored, or fragmentary histories related to Black American culture. His work contextualizes and strengthens the subjects he examines, and in the process, raises clear questions about “official” histories, what is overlooked and why, and the biases held by those writing and interpreting it. With an emphasis on collage and assemblage, Cyrus uses a range of humble, everyday materials in his work—including vinyl records, grits, sargassum, and denim—and transforms them into densely layered aesthetic objects bound to the conceptual premises and potential embedded in these materials while also referring to aspects of Southern material culture.
Much of Cyrus’s art homes in on Black American music history. The painting Transformation_Green, 2016, is a clear example of how materials, music history, and art history converge in Cyrus’s work. Transformation_Green is a black-and-white, abstracted concert poster advertising a performance by Al Green at the Castle Palace Ballroom, once located in Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood. The media include graphite, wax, vinyl records, and grits. Cyrus first used grits in 2011 for their formal and conceptual possibilities and connection to Southern culture and food offerings. The use of this material in Transformation_Green relates to the pivotal moment of Al Green’s life where a jilted lover burned the singer by pouring hot grits on him before she committed suicide in a nearby room. Splattering hot, unorthodox artistic media also refers to Richard Serra’s splatter pieces of the 1960s as well as the act of libation within African sculptures.
Cyrus is a former member of the acclaimed Houston collective Otabenga Jones & Associates; his work is currently the subject of a retrospective at the Blaffer Museum of Art in Houston that will travel to the ICA in Los Angeles. He will be making new work for his exhibition at the Modern.
Women Painting Women
May 15–August 14, 2022
Women Painting Women is a thematic exhibition featuring more than 30 female artists who choose women as subject matter in their works. This presentation is the first of its kind and includes approximately 50 evocative portraits that span the 1940s to the present. International in scope, Women Painting Women recognizes female perspectives that have been underrepresented in the history of postwar figuration. Painting is the focus of the exhibition, as traditionally it has been a privileged medium for portraiture, particularly for white male artists. Using painting and women as subject matter as vehicles for change, the artists here range from early trailblazers like Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel, and Emma Amos to emerging artists such as Jordan Casteel, Jennifer Packer, and Apolonia Sokol. Some, such as Jenny Saville, work on large canvases, producing images that dwarf the space around them, while others, including Somaya Critchlow, paint on a modest scale that invites close viewing. All place real women—their bodies, gestures, and individuality—at the forefront.
Five themes trend in the works included in Women Painting Women: Flesh, Nudes, Nature Personified, Color as Portrait, and Elusive Personas. Through these themes, the artists conceive new ways to activate and elaborate on the portrayal of women. Replete with complexities, realness, abjection, beauty, complications, everydayness, and joy, the portraits in this exhibition connect with real women, and they make way for female artists to share the stage with their male counterparts in defining the image of woman and how it has evolved.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and curated by Andrea Karnes, senior curator.