Dallas, Texas (December 12, 2016) – The Nasher Sculpture Center announces the acquisition of several important gifts of work by artists Julian Hoeber and Alex Israel. The work of these California-based artists represent notable ways in which a new generation of artists practicing today expand upon the modernist foundations of the Nasher Collection.
“We are so grateful for these recent gifts to the Nasher,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “They are excellent examples of how the roots of modernism can be found flourishing in the work of young, contemporary artists, and we are eager to see them on view alongside works in our permanent collection in the years to come.”
The work of Julian Hoeber (b. 1974) encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation, extending the constructivist spirit of Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner to the 21st century. Like these predecessors, Hoeber derives complex sculptural forms from mathematical precepts and geometric models. Negative Space of Double Wall, kindly gifted to the Nasher by the Green Family Collection, presents an irregular rectangular prism sliced at various angles, creating a dynamic three-dimensional object that changes dramatically at each face. The colorful nylon cords woven into the structure define subtle planes running through the form, recalling the stringed sculptures and welded rod compositions of Gabo and Pevsner. This form sits atop a low plinth, also designed by Hoeber. The practice of making a sculpture to support another sculpture has roots in the work of Constantin Brancusi, but the beautifully milled oak trim and smooth, soft-pink lacquer of the base recall the domestic finishes associated with the sculpture of Richard Artschwager.
The four works by Alex Israel (b. 1982), generously donated by a private collection and the VIA Art Fund, will be familiar to visitors of the Nasher Sculpture Center. Self-Portrait (Wetsuit), Cap, Glove, and Booties were initially unveiled to the public last year in the Nasher’s Sightings exhibition of Israel’s work. Comprised of painting, sculpture, video, and aspects of performance, Israel’s work recalls elements of Pop, Duchampian readymades, as well as Southern California Light and Space, or Finish Fetish, art of the 1960s and 1970s. The sculptures donated to the Nasher are related to the artist’s first feature length film, SPF-18, which explores the genre of the teen surfing movie, using visual and narrative conventions common to the after-school special, a series of made-for-TV movies for adolescents. The wetsuit and accessories are sculptural replicas of the real wetsuit made by the movie’s central character, but extend the artist’s investigation of the iconic pop culture of his native Los Angeles to better understand its persistent impact on contemporary life and art. They also mark a new path in Israel’s innovative exploration of portraiture and the cult of personality, initiated in his YouTube interview project, As It LAys, and continued in his paintings of iconic L.A. scenes on canvases shaped in the silhouette of his profile. The artist wore the wetsuit when the mold was made for casting the sculpture, making this self-portrait a hollow shell, a self-portrait notable for the absence of the figure portrayed. Flocked in stucco and painted the vibrant colors of the California sunset, the wetsuit and accessories use the material vocabulary of twentieth-century southern California, yet are presented on stands reminiscent of the display of Greek and Roman antiquities, lending these commonplace objects both nobility and nostalgia. These sculptures join another work by Alex Israel, Sky Backdrop, generously promised to the Nasher in 2015 by collectors Christen and Derek Wilson.
These new works join the other acquisitions of 2016: four rare works by Ana Mendieta, purchased with the Kaleta A. Doolin Acquisitions Fund for Women Artists, which are on view at the Nasher until February 12, 2017.