Eric Fischl, a painter, sculptor, and printmaker featured in Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, gained acclaim in the 1980s with large-scale paintings depicting middle-class American life with themes of adolescent sexuality and voyeurism. Considered one of the most important figurative artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Fischl’s work has been the subject of numerous solo and major group exhibitions and is represented in many museums, as well as prestigious private and corporate collections. As one of the principal artists of a multifarious decade that continues to inform attitudes of art and is in many ways evident in our current cultural moment, Eric Fischl shares his thoughts in his Tuesday Evenings presentation, “The 80's Seems So Long Ago. Where Was I Then?”
Kenny Scharf, an artist featured in Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, rose to prominence in the 1980s East Village art scene and was one of the first artists to inject elements of street culture into the mainstream of contemporary art. For his 2012 solo exhibition Hodgepodge at Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles, the gallery explained, “Like Warhol before him, Scharf became interested in merging the highbrow with the lowbrow, and began working towards ways of incorporating pop-culture into his paintings. As a way to rebel against the highly academic work that was being shown at the time, Scharf’s work reflected an Eden filled with animated colors and fantastical subjects ranging from the Flintstones and the Jetsons, to imaginary characters that could cast either gloom or euphoria.” Scharf himself has stated, “My ambition as a professional artist is to maintain the course that I set nearly 30 years ago by establishing my work in the fields of painting, sculpture, and performance. Every project I undertake is building on my past experiences. My original approach is unchanged; it is a personal challenge to produce the best work possible every time. One very important and guiding principle to my work is to reach out beyond the elitist boundaries of fine art and connect to popular culture through my art.” For Tuesday Evenings, Kenny Scharf shares his work and experiences over a long and flourishing career
James Cutler, FAIA, founding partner of Cutler Anderson Architects, is known for his environmental and emotional sensitivity to place, institution, program, climate, and cultural circumstance. For this Tuesday Evenings at the Modern, Cutler presents “Searching For True," stating, “We [Cutler Anderson Architects] have chosen, as best we can, to respect and reveal the nature of all of the elements that influence, or are employed, in the making of architecture. The institutions need to be clothed, the land must be respected, the structure asks to display its strength and order, and the materials want their nature revealed and respected. Each of these primary circumstances has multiple subsets that challenge us to learn more at every turn. We find ourselves constantly searching -- sometimes discovering, sometimes missing -- but always challenged.”
Jenny Jaskey is director and curator of the Artist’s Institute at Hunter College; co-editor of Realism Materialism Art, an upcoming publication on the “speculative turn” in philosophy and aesthetics; and contributor to various publications including the Brooklyn Rail. Of particular interest for this presentation is Jaskey’s curatorial innovations and experiences in her position at the Artist’s Institute, a research institution and experimental curatorial platform for contemporary art in New York City. The Institute dedicates its program to a single artist for a six-month season, and that artist’s work becomes the occasion for a series of exhibitions, public programs, and private discussions with leading contemporary thinkers from a variety of disciplines. Jaskey’s role entails long engagements and exchanges with artists such as Haim Steinbach, Lucy McKenzie, and Pierre Huyghe. At the center of the Institute’s approach is a commitment to education, believing that art deserves sustained attention and makes important contributions to intellectual life.
For Tuesday Evenings, Jaskey presents “Spending Time with The Artist’s Institute, New York” as she underscores the importance of time for curatorial practice today and how durational modes of engagement can provoke new ways of seeing and being with art.
Allan McCollum, an artist featured in Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, became well known in the late 1970s for his series Surrogate Paintings and continues to be recognized for utilizing methods of mass production to render countless unique forms. As seen in his current solo exhibition Perfect Couples at Petzel Gallery in New York, a recurrent theme in McCollum’s work is the fantasy of ubiquitous distribution, what he refers to as “our dreams of things appearing everywhere at once,” as well as his ongoing challenge to our culture’s tendency to favor unique artworks. To view a mass field of McCollum’s individual shapes as images on the wall or objects on the floor is both awesome and perplexing.
With a penchant toward fostering connections and identifying individuality, McCollum has occasionally created works that directly engage communities and has called on individual craftsmen. In addition to conducting interviews and writing about the work of fellow artists, he has participated in collaborations with a variety of artists, including Andrea Fraser, Matt Mullican, Laurie Simmons, and Andrea Zittel.
For Tuesday Evenings, Allan McCollum looks at the persistence and development of ideas and forms over an enduring and impressive career.
Tuesday Evenings at the Modern opens this season with insights into the art and issues of Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s. Dr. Mark Thistlethwaite, Kay and Velma Kimbell Chair of Art History at TCU, directs a panel discussion with the Modern’s Chief Curator Michael Auping, organizer of the exhibition Urban Theater, along with Curator Andrea Karnes and Assistant Curator Alison Hearst, who also contributed essays to the catalogue.
Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s presents iconic works to capture the mood, energy, and critical themes that distinguished the art of the time in one of the world’s greatest urban centers. Even now, a quarter-century later, New York art in the 1980s still holds an aura of controversy and glamour.
Sundays with the Modern offers unique perspectives on the Museum’s architecture, permanent collection, and special exhibitions. Artists, art historians, critics, writers, and architects hold conversations and lead tours in the galleries.
Explore the fundamentals of the Modern’s permanent collection through four chronological gallery talks led by scholars in art and art history.
Explore the fundamentals of the Modern’s permanent collection through these chronological gallery talks led by scholars in art and art history.