Minneapolis, November 7 2013— The Walker Art Center presents the first comprehensive survey of American artist Jim Hodges (b. 1957), one of the most compelling sculpture and installation artists working today. The exhibition will be on view in Minneapolis February 15 through May 11, 2014. Co-organized by the Walker and the Dallas Museum of Art (where it was first presented in October 2013), the exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take explores the trajectory of the artist’s career from 1987 through the present integrating sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, collage, and several room-size environments. Parallel projects accompany the Walker’s presentation, including an in-gallery music series curated by the artist and the release of a new album by the music collective S/S/S inspired by Hodges’s work and co-commissioned by the Walker and SPCO’s Liquid Music. Following the Walker, the exhibition will travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (June 4–September 1, 2014), and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (October 5, 2014–January 17, 2014).
Born in Spokane, Washington, Jim Hodges has been based in New York City since the early 1980s, when he came to study painting at Pratt Institute. Eschewing the medium early on in his career, he evolved in the late 1980s and early 1990s the thoughtful, materials-based practice that characterizes his work to this day. Hodges’s work typically begins with humble, even overlooked materials—silk scarves and flowers, mirrors, light bulbs, glass, clothing, metal chains, decals, and sheet music—that he transforms through simple gestures or actions such as drawing, sewing, folding or unfolding, transferring, cutting, assembling, and unraveling. These acts of poetic reconsideration elevate his pieces to other levels of interpretation and meaning. The results are poignant sculptural meditations on life, love, loss, and a range of human experience.
Hodges came of age as an artist in the late 1980s and 90s, an intense period in American society marked by censorship, political conservatism, and the height of the AIDS crisis. Many of his early works, including A Diary of Flowers (1994), comprised of doodled coffeehouse napkins pinned to the wall, have been discussed and interpreted through the lens of loss and memorial that marked this moment. Indeed, Hodges is part of a generation of sculptors, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Robert Gober, Roni Horn, Kiki Smith, and Katharina Fritsch, who collectively ushered in a new visual language in the 1990s distinguished by generosity, metaphor, and restraint. This approach was in sharp contrast to the more acerbic, didactic language-based art that characterized the preceding decade.
Co-curators Olga Viso, Executive Director of the Walker Art Center, and Jeffrey Grove, Senior Curator of Special Projects & Research at the Dallas Museum of Art, who both have long histories working with Jim Hodges, took inspiration from the artist when organizing the exhibition. Instead of displaying the work chronologically, they worked closely with Hodges to conceive a sequence of themed rooms that bring together a variety of artworks across media and time to elicit a range of impressive environments or experiences. The series of mirrored wall works titled Movements (2005–2009), for example, dapple brilliant reflected light, as well as the viewer’s own reflection, on the surrounding floors and walls. These works conjure feelings of lightness and dispersion in contrast to the dark, sensorial environment of the adjacent dark gate (2008), a rarely exhibited room-size installation that also engages the viewer’s sense of smell.
In addition to showcasing rarely seen works, including Untitled (Gate) (1991), and ghost (2008)—a work that has never been shown in the U.S.—Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take debuts a new work made specifically for the exhibition. Untitled (one day it all comes true) (2013), an expansive wall tapestry that is one of the most labor-intensive and epic works by the artist to date, is comprised of thousands of individual pieces of denim in every shade of the material’s spectrum.
The exhibition also complements Untitled (2012), the major outdoor sculpture by Hodges acquired by the Walker and installed on campus in 2012. Created by adhering shimmering, painted stainless steel to the surfaces of 400-million-year-old boulders, the sunlight is captured and cast, creating an effect that is both monumental and airy.
Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take and its accompanying Walker-designed catalogue, the first publication of its kind exploring Hodges’s career, positions his work in the context of its time and illuminates its singularity and subtle, radical subversion. No other artist of his generation has tackled the notions of beauty, sentimentality and craft as forthrightly as Hodges, harnessing all its delights and discomforts with such audacity and integrity.
Visual Art–Related Music Commission: S/S/S + Jim Hodges
S/S/S—comprised of Chicago-based rapper Serengeti, LA-based composer/producer Son Lux, and Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/composer/indie darling Sufjan Stevens—offers listeners “an odd mix of personalities and musical styles [resulting in] something quite beautiful” (Consequence of Sound). Inspired by the work of Jim Hodges, the trio will release its sophomore EP in conjunction with the Walker’s presentation of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take. Co-commissioned by the Walker Art Center and SPCO’s Liquid Music series.
Sound Horizon: Curated by Jim Hodges
Dave King, Shelley Hirsch, and Kevin Beasley
March—May 2014, FREE
Exploring the space between live sound and visual art, the free in-gallery music series Sound Horizon, produced by the Walker’s Performing Arts department, continues with three of the most respected U.S. composers and solo sonic adventurers, personally selected by Jim Hodges. Join Dave King (March 6), Shelley Hirsch (April 10), and Kevin Beasley (May 8) for free 30-minute performances in the galleries of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take.
After Hours: Untitled (Love)
February 14, 9 pm – Midnight
$30 ($20 Walker members, students and seniors)
Skip the prix fixe dinner and join the celebration at the Walker this Valentine’s Day. Be among the first to see the new exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, catch a live performance by S/S/S, indulge in small bites and specialty cocktails by D’Amico, and dance the night away to music by DJs Angel Deradoorian and Olga Bell (Dirty Projectors). New members receive a free party ticket (or other premiums) for joining. Visit walkerart.org/tickets or call 612.375.7600.
Opening-Day Dialogue: Jim Hodges & S/S/S
February 15, 2 pm
$12 ($10 for Walker members, students and seniors)
Bill Arning, director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, will moderate a discussion with S/S/S (the collaborative trio of Serengeti, Son Lux and Sufjan Stevens) and Jim Hodges—absolute forces in contemporary art and music and each absolutely unique in their approach, focus, and medium. Co-presented with the SPCO Liquid Music Series.
Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take is accompanied by the first comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue tracing the artist’s development and career. Weaving together the voices of many, contributions include an in-depth overview of Hodges’s career, an interview with the artist, and further reflections that situate Hodges’s work within the issues of identity, social activism, illness, beauty, generosity, and death. Contributors include exhibition co-curators Olga Viso and Jeffrey Grove; Pulitzer Prize-finalist Susan Griffin; Bill Arning, Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; and Helen Molesworth, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, ICA, Boston. Co-published by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center, the book was designed by the Walker’s award-winning design team and is distributed by D.A.P. ($65; Hardcover; 256 pages)
Major support for the catalogue is provided by Sotheby’s.
Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take is co-organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Major support for the exhibition is provided by Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, John and Amy Phelan, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support is generously provided by the Ames Family Foundation, Anonymous in honor of Olga Viso, the Chadwick-Loher Foundation/John and Arlene Dayton, Dirk Denison and David Salkin, Ann Hatch, Karen and Ken Heithoff, Dean Johnson and James Van Damme, Jeanne and Michael Klein, Agnes and Edward Lee, Toby Devan Lewis, Pizzuti Collection, Donna and Jim Pohlad, Dallas Price-Van Breda, Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert, and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves.
The Walker Art Center’s presentation is made possible by Martha (Muffy) MacMillan and Michael J. Peterman and David A. Wilson. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.
The Walker Art Center is located at 1750 Hennepin Avenue—where Hennepin meets Lyndale—one block off Highways I-94 and I-394, in Minneapolis. For public information, call 612.375.7600 or visit walkerart.org. Stay connected via your mobile device and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.