MINNEAPOLIS, January 8 2014—Opening events take place at the Walker Art Center February 14–15, 2014 to celebrate Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, the first comprehensive survey of American artist Jim Hodges (b. 1957)—one of the most compelling sculpture and installation artists working today. The exhibition explores the trajectory of the artist’s twenty-five year career integrating sculpture, installation, photography, drawing, collage, and several room-size environments. Co-organized by the Walker and the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibition is on view February 15–May 11, 2014, and will travel from the Walker to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (June 4–September 1, 2014), and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (October 5, 2014–January 17, 2014). Parallel projects accompany the Walker’s presentation, including an in-gallery music series curated by Jim Hodges, and a co-commission by the Walker and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series by Sisyphus (the collaborative trio of Serengeti, Son Lux and Sufjan Stevens formerly known as S/S/S) inspired by Hodges’s work.
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 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 hundreds of individual pieces of denim in every shade of the material’s spectrum.
The exhibition complements Untitled (2011), 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: Sisyphus + Jim Hodges
Release date: February 14, 2014
Sisyphus (formerly S/S/S)—comprised of Serengeti, Son Lux, and Sufjan Stevens—releases its first and self-titled LP, co-commissioned by the Walker and the SPCO’s Liquid Music series and inspired by the work of Jim Hodges. Issued by Asthmatic Kitty and Joyful Noise Recordings, the album features a cover designed in collaboration with the artist and will be available exclusively at the Walker Shop on February 14—opening day of the exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take.
Sound Horizon: Curated by Jim Hodges
Dave King, Shelley Hirsch, and Kevin Beasley
Thursdays March 6, April 10, May 8 2014, FREE
Exploring the space between live sound and visual art, the Walker’s free in-gallery music series Sound Horizon 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.
Walker After Hours
February 14, 9 pm – Midnight
$30 ($20 Walker members)
Tickets on sale now
Love—whether you’re in it, out of it, over it, or just need a party, celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Walker! Be the first to see the new exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take and catch a cameo appearance by special musical guests Sisyphus. Indulge in luscious small bites and cocktails by D’Amico, and dance the night away to DJ sets from Olga Bell (Dirty Projectors), Angel Deradoorian, and Tom Vek. Guests can enter to win two round-trip tickets on Delta Air Lines. New members receive a free party ticket for joining.
Opening-Day Dialogue: Jim Hodges and Sisyphus
February 15, 2 pm
$12 ($10 for Walker members)
Tickets on sale January 14
Bill Arning, director of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, will moderate a discussion with Sisyphus and Jim Hodges—absolute forces in contemporary art and music and each absolutely unique in their approach, focus, and medium. This Composer Conversation program is copresented with the SPCO Liquid Music Series.
The Mack Lecture Series is made possible by generous support from Aaron and Carol Mack.
Film Screenings: Untitled (2010)
Directed by Jim Hodges, Encke King, Carlos Marques da Cruz
Saturdays, March 8, April 12, May 10, 4 pm, FREE
Invited in 2010 to lecture on the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres at San Antonio’s ArtPace, Jim Hodges joined forces with filmmakers Carlos Marques da Cruz and Encke King to build a non-linear montage of archival and pop footage to conjure up the passionate activism sparked by the early years of the AIDS crisis. By juxtaposing fractious scenes from the last few turbulent decades, Untitled presents a powerful and provocative reflection on an era when political protest and personal existence converged. At the same time, the film draws history nearer by representing the pressure and hopelessness created by regimes of power from New York to Los Angeles, New Orleans to Guantánamo, and beyond, and the brave women and men who in times of crisis stood up for themselves, for their communities, and for humanity. “In this way,” Hodges says, “the framing of the artist can become a way to project any number of people, endlessly.” 2010, video, 60 minutes.
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)
Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take is co-organized by the Walker Art Center, 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 sponsored by BMO Private Bank. Additional support is provided by Marilyn and Larry Fields, Martha (Muffy) MacMillan, and Michael J. Peterman and David A. Wilson. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.