The Modern Art Notes Podcast

Episode No. 332 features artists Fazal Sheikh and John Akomfrah.

The Portland (Ore.) Art Museum is exhibiting "Common Ground: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh, 1989-2013," a 25-year survey of Fazal Sheikh's work. The exhibition focuses on Sheikh's portraiture, work that spotlights the individual humanity often forgotten or obscured by war and other ethnic, religious or misogynistic violence. It also includes Sheikh's landscapes, which often suggest the violence or migration that the land in his pictures sustained. The exhibition, which is on view through May 20, was organized by Eric Paddock and the Denver Art Museum. Julia Dolan oversaw the Portland installation.

Sheikh, who was born in New York to an American mother and Kenyan father, spent many childhood summers there. Upon earning a Fulbright scholarship after studying under Emmet Gowin at Princeton, Sheikh returned to Africa and found himself photographing people displaced from Somalia, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Rwanada who were living in refugee camps. Over the ensuing decades he continued to look at places where massive waves of migration, often caused by violence, impacted people and places. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation 'genius' award. Museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Mapfre Foundation in Madrid, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art have presented solo exhibitions of his work.

Sheikh's website includes a broad presentation of his work and free digital versions of all of his books. Among the series or projects he and host Tyler Green discuss on this week's program are:

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is presenting the U.S. debut of John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea in "Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner." The exhibition, which pairs a film installation Akomfrah made for the Venice Biennale in 2015 with Turner's The Deluge, will be on view at SFMOMA through September 16. It was curated by Rudolf Frieling.

In two weeks the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University will exhibit Akomfrah's Precarity, which debuted at Prospect.4. (The version of Precarity at the Nasher will differ slightly from the version shown in New Orleans.) The exhibition will remain on view through August 26. Later this spring, Akomfrah will return to The MAN Podcast to discuss Precarity.

Akomfrah has had many solo exhibitions and dedicated screenings around the world, including at the Tate Britain and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredThirtyTwo.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

Episode No. 331 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Senga Nengudi.

Senga Nengudi came to prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with abstract sculpture made from common materials, work that was often fused with a performative element. Her work is the subject of two ongoing solo exhibitions and her work is included in one ongoing group exhibition:

Listeners may wish to see more about Nengudi in the Hammer Museum's digital archive for the 2012 exhibition "Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-80."

See images of work discussed on the program at

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredThirtyOne.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 10:51am EDT

Episode No. 330 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Jill Magid and archaeologist Thomas Wynn.

Jill Magid is included in the season's two most prominent group shows: "Stories of Almost Everyone," which is at the Hammer Museum through May 6, and "Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today," at the ICA Boston through May 20. "Stories," curated by Aram Moshayedi, is about our willingness (or not?) to believe the stories offered by works of contemporary art. Its catalogue was published by the Hammer and Delmonico Prestel.

The ICA Boston's show is the first major American examination of how the internet has influenced and impacted art-making. It was curated by Eva Respini with Jeffrey De Blois. Its catalogue was published by Yale University Press. (The ICA Boston is one of 14 area institutions to be examining the intersection of art and technology this season.)

Magid's work, presented as installation, sculpture, video installation or via the internet, often examines questions around surveillance, permission and consent. She's had solo shows at or has fulfilled commissions for the University Museum of Contemporary Art in Mexico City, the Berkeley Art Museum, The Intelligence Agency of the Netherlands, the Stedelijk, the Liverpool Biennial and plenty more.

Many of the works Magid and host Tyler Green discuss are presented on her website, including:

On the second segment, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs archaeologist Thomas Wynn discusses "First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figure Stone," at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The exhibition presents ancient handaxes and figure stones as many as two million years old, and posits that their making was motivated by aesthetic decisions, which suggests that they may be considered works of art. Wynn co-curated the exhibition with artist and collector Tony Berlant. It's at the Nasher through April 28. The thought-provoking and beautiful catalogue was published by the Nasher, which offers it for $70.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

Episode No. 329 features curators Lynette Roth and Mazie Harris.

Roth is the curator of "Inventur -- Art in Germany, 1943-55," which is at the Harvard Art Museums through June 3. It is the first exhibition to examine art made in Germany by artists who stayed in Germany throughout World War II. "Inventur" presents more than 160 works made by 50 artists, art made when Germans were forced to acknowledge and address the war, the Holocaust, their defeat and occupation by the Allies, and the beginning of the Cold War. The fascinating exhibition catalogue, which is full of new discoveries and analysis, was published by Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $55.

Roth, the curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the head of modern and contemporary art at HAM, was previously a guest on Episode No. 192, when she discussed her catalogue of the Saint Louis Art Museum's Max Beckmann collection.

On the second segment, J. Paul Getty Museum curator Mazie Harris discusses "Paper Promises: Early American Photography," which is at the Getty from Tuesday, February 27 through May 27. The exhibition examines why daguerreotypes-loving Americans were so much slower to embrace paper photography than other nations, and what prompted the belated switch. The terrific catalogue for the exhibition is full of surprising history and is published by the Getty. Amazon lists it at $50.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:15pm EDT

Episode No. 328 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artists Deborah Luster and curator Béatrice Gross.

Deborah Luster is featured in Aperture magazine's spring issue, titled "Prison Nation". It spotlights how artists have responded to America's astronomical incarceration rate. The magazine will feature a suite of pictures Luster made in 2013 at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a maximum-security prison. They show actors in The Life of Jesus Christ, a passion play staged by prisoners for the general public. Luster's photographs are also on view in Aperture's New York gallery, which is showing pictures from the issue through March 7.

Concurrently, Luster's work with poet C. D. Wright is on view in "The Art of Collaboration," an exhibition at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. The exhibition examines how separate elements may come together to make projects deeper and more meaningful. Curated by Melissa Barton, Elizabeth Frengel and Nancy Kuhl, it will be on view through April 15.

Luster's work has most often looked at circles of violence and how they perpetuate themselves. Her work, including portraits of Louisiana prisoners and of places in New Orleans where homicides were committed, is in the collections of dozens of museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

On the second segment, curator Béatrice Gross discusses her exhibition "François Morellet," which is at Dia's Beacon and Chelsea locations through June 2. Morellet was a pioneering conceptualist whose abstract work was often built around systems and, later, randomness. This is the first in-depth examination of Morellet's work in the United States in over three decades. Gross's exhibition brochure is available for free download.

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Category:visual art -- posted at: 12:25pm EDT

Episode No. 327 of The Modern Art Notes Podcasts features artists Deborah Roberts and Anita Witek.

The Spelman College Museum of Art is showing "Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi" through May 19. The exhibition features work Roberts has made in the last half-decade, work that uses collage and girlhood to examine issues of race, gender, and America's present condition. It was curated by Andrea Barnwell. San Francisco's Jenkins Johnson Gallery just opened an exhibition of Roberts's work called "Uninterrupted." It's on view through March 17.

Deborah Roberts was recently included in the group exhibition "Fictions" at the The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work is in the collections of the Studio Museum, the Blanton at the University of T exas, and the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.

The Spelman College Museum has uploaded a conversation between Barnwell and Roberts. Part one is here.

On the second segment, Anita Witek discusses her new installation at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The work, titled Clip, is Witek's first site-specific photomontage to be shown in the United States. It's on view at the Wexner through April 15. Witek has previously shown at the Kunsthaus Wien, the Kunsthalle Graz, at the Leopold Museum and at many other European venues.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredTwentySeven.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 12:56pm EDT

Episode No. 326 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curators Betsy Kornhauser and Joel Smith.

Along with Tim Barringer, Kornhauser  is the co-curator of "Thomas Cole's Journey: Atlantic Crossings," which is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through May 13. The exhibition examines Cole's origins in the north of England during the Industrial Revolution and the impact Britain and travels through England and Italy had on Cole's career. The exhibition is the first time Cole's work has been examined in the context of Cole's European experiences and aims to present Cole as not just an American figure, but as a trans-Atlantic figure. The outstanding exhibition catalogue was published by the Met and is distributed by Yale University Press. Amazon offers it for $65.

On the second segment, Smith discusses "Peter Hujar: Speed of Life." The exhibition, on view at The Morgan Library through May 20, includes 140 photographs and surveys Hujar's entire career. The exhibition catalogue, published by Aperture, is easily the most important publication about Hujar. Amazon sells it for $34.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredTwentySix.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 1:41pm EDT

Episode No. 325 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features part two of host Tyler Green's conversation with artist Wayne Thiebaud. On the second segment, Green and curator and museum director Kathryn Kanjo remember Jack Whitten.

Thiebaud is one of the world's greatest living painters. The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis has just opened "Wayne Thiebaud, 1958-1968," an examination of Thiebaud's early work and a look at how he developed his signature style and subjects.


Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredTwentyFive.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

Episode No. 324 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Wayne Thiebaud and curator Julia Dolan.

Thiebaud is one of the world's greatest living painters. The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis has just opened "Wayne Thiebaud, 1958-1968," an examination of Thiebaud's early work and a look at how he developed his signature style and subjects. The exhibition was curated by Rachel Teagle and is on view through May 13. The exhibition's strong catalogue was published by the museum in association with University of California Press. Amazon offers it for $43.

This is part one of host Tyler Green's conversation with Thiebaud. Part two will air next week.

On the second segment, Portland Art Museum curator Julia Dolan discusses her exhibition "In the Beginning: Minor White's Oregon Photographs," which is on view through October 21. White is best known for co-founding Aperture magazine, establishing the photography program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and work he made in the mid-20th century (which curator Paul Martineau discussed on The MAN Podcast on the occasion of a 2014 exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum). Dolan's exhibition features the work with which White effectively began his career in the late 1930s, work White made for the Oregon Art Project, a division of the federal Works Project Administration. The exhibition is split into two phases; the first, featuring works of Portland's industrial infrastructure and more, is up through May 6.

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredTwentyFour.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

Episode No. 323 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curator Deborah Wye and artist Livia Corona Benjamin.

Wye curated "Louise Bourgeois An Unfolding Portrait," which is on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York through January 28. She is the world's foremost expert on Bourgeois's work. The exhibition, mostly taken from MoMA's collection, features 300 works, mostly prints and works on paper, but also works on cloth, sculptures and more. In association with the exhibition and its long-term commitment to Bourgeois's (and Wye's) work, MoMA has published an online catalogue raisonne of Bourgeois's prints and books. It features over 4,300 works. The exhibition is also accompanied by an excellent MoMA-published catalogue. Amazon offers it for $34.

Several of the artist's books that host Tyler Green and Wye discussed can be 'paged' through in their entirety on MoMA's Bourgeois website, including:

On the second segment, artist and photographer Livia Corona Benjamin discusses her work. She's included in "Home -- So Different, So Appealing," which is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston through January 21. The exhibition, a Pacific Standard Time-series exhibition that debuted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and which was co-curated by MFAH's Mari Carmen Ramírez, Chon Noriega and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, looks at how artists have used the concept of 'home' to examine socioeconomic and political changes in the Americas.

To see more from the two Corona Benjamin series discussed on the program, visit her website:

Direct download: MANPodcastEpisodeThreeHundredTwentyThree.mp3
Category:visual art -- posted at: 12:55pm EDT