This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Mark Handforth, whose work is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami in the survey exhibition, “Mark Handforth: Rolling Stop.” The exhibition is on view through Feb. 19 and is accompanied by a handsome catalogue. (The catalogue Q&A between Handforth and Tom Eccles, the executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, is particularly good. I can’t find a way to link to the catalogue via Amazon or anywhere else, alas.)
Handforth’s work has been exhibited all over the world, including this past summer at the MCA Chicago and before that at the Hirshhorn, the Whitney, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hammer, in New York’s Central Park and in France, Norway, Ireland and Switzerland. A Brit who came to the United States and immediately found himself awed by our urban and freeway infrastructures, his work is big, often funny, and is thoroughly informed by an outsider’s experience of America. After talking with him for this week’s show, I came to think of him as something of a de Tocqueville with power tools.
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Handforth and I discuss:
- His children’s reaction to his work;
- How his experience of European cities left him somewhat unprepared for urban America and how that surfaces in his work;
- His fascination with the strange messages on American freeway signs;
- How he once thought Miami and Los Angeles were more or less the same place;
- How he came to work with streetlights; and
- Why he wanted to light up a tree in a Miami-area city park.
In the show’s second segment, LACMA curator Sofía Sanabrais and I discuss the seemingly unlikely story of how exactly Japanese screen painting came to influence Mexican painters during the Spanish colonial period. Sanabrais wrote her PhD dissertation on the subject and contributed to “Contested Visions in the Spanish Colonial World,” a recent LACMA exhibition. It opens at the Museo Nacional de Historia in Mexico City this summer.
The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. For images of the works discussed on this week’s program, click through to the jump.
Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII, 1966. Collection of the Tate.
Mark Handforth, Lamppost, 2003.
Night Festival of Tsushima Shrine, Japan, early Edo period, Kan’ei era, 1624–44. Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.