Episode No. 189 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features artists Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler, and curator Audrey Lewis.
Ever since the California Gold Rush kicked off in 1848, America has been fascinated by the American West, what it might be and what it could be. A few years later, in 1861, the artist Carleton Watkins effectively introduced Easterners to what the West actually looked like with a series of photographs of Yosemite Valley. Watkins and other photographers continued to make the pictures that informed the American imagination about the West up until Hollywood took over.
Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler pick up the story from there in a major trilogy that examines how cinema has created more recent Western mythologies, especially our idea of Texas. Their work is now the subject of an exhibition at the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. Titled “Sound Speed Marker,” the show features sculpture, photography and three film installations — 2009’s Grand Paris Texas, Movie Mountain from 2011 and last year’s Giant — that look at how the movies have made the West. The show was organized by Ballroom Marfa and traveled to the Irish Museum of Modern Art before arriving at the Blaffer, where it will be on view through September 5.
On the second segment, Brandywine River Museum of Art curator Audrey Lewis will tell us about her new exhibition, “Horace Pippin: The Way I See It,” which is at The Brandywine River Museum through July 19. Once erroneously considered a naive or folk artist, Pippin’s scenes of World Wars, African-American life and portraits are now understood to be significant works of early American modernism.
Air date: June 18. 2015.