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Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take

  • This is a past exhibition

Since the late 1980s Jim Hodges’s artistic investigations have centered around the repurposed fragments of discarded culture to speak to the fragmentary nature of memory and the ephemerality of the body. Convening works in diverse mediums—from modest objects that reveal the artist’s deft understanding of transformational gestures to room-size installations that engage the viewer and the environment in sensory experiences—Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take is the first comprehensive survey to reveal the breadth and complexity of his inventive vision.

Born in Spokane, Washington, in 1957, Jim Hodges came of age in New York City in the mid-1980s. As a student at Pratt Institute, he was a painter, but shortly after graduation he eschewed that medium in favor of a process-based and drawing-centered practice. This was a critical time in the country’s culture wars, when many artists became politically engaged, creating artworks that fueled discussions of identity politics, artistic censorship, political repression, and the AIDS crisis. Hodges’s early work emerged against this backdrop and has often been read through the lens of this history, as an outgrowth of the collaborative spirit and collective action that defined the era.

Indeed, Hodges’s use of floral motifs and ephemeral materials in signature works of the 1990s connects to the art historical traditions of vanitas and the memento mori, in which art is intended to remind viewers of the inevitability of death and the transience of life. Yet these works resonate beyond the politics of the moment. Read as poetic, material gestures, they are open to interpretation while also reflecting on the artistic and intellectual relationships that Hodges cultivated throughout his career.

Hodges has consistently embraced optimistic metaphors relating to nature, color, and light, exploring romantic notions of love and beauty. In recent years he has expanded the process of disassembly and reassembly into an ever more complex dialogue, creating expansive installations which often incorporate existing architecture, references to text or film, or other ideas in the public imaginary. Hodges situates these works in a manner that responds to their context. For the presentation of the exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Hodges invited the artists Julie Ault and Martin Beck to join him and Carlos Marques da Cruz to consider his work in relation to the architecture of the museum and the light and environment of Los Angeles. Envisioning the exhibition design as a reflection of Hodges’s diverse practice and the network of associations among his bodies of work, the group has sought to foster a direct engagement with the exhibition as a series of encounters.

Allowing nature and chance to commingle in the studio, Hodges has most recently recast and revitalized the elements of time, assemblage, and dispersal that were so essential to his early experiences as an artist. This notion of an eternal return—the present ingesting the past—winds itself through the arc of his career.

Exhibition Tour Schedule
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (October 6, 2013–January 12, 2014)
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (February 15–May 11, 2014)
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (June 5–September 1, 2014)

Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take is co-organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. The exhibition is curated by Olga Viso, Executive Director, Walker Art Center, and Jeffrey Grove, Former Senior Curator of Special Projects and Research, Dallas Museum of Art. The Hammer Museum's Presentation is organized by Connie Butler, Chief curator, and Aram Moshayedi, curator.

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 Jeanne and Michael Klein, Agnes and Edward Lee, and Pizzuti Collection.

The Hammer Museum’s presentation of Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take is generously supported by Beth Rudin DeWoody and The May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation and Linda and Bob Gersh. Additional support is provided by Lewis Baskerville, George Freeman, and Julie and Barry Smooke.

Major support for the catalogue is provided by Sotheby’s.

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