Wednesday, March 05, 2014


Jim Hodges and still this 2005-2008 23.5K and 24K gold with Beva on gessoed linen in 10 parts
200" x 185" x 89". Source: re-post of my article

I love Jim Hodges, I hate Jim Hodges. I spent nearly half the day at the Dallas Museum of Art trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings on Jim Hodges' works. I can't say I have ever felt so conflicted about an artist's work. With so many different kinds of work over so many years by one artist, it is hard to judge whether the body of work really reaches great heights or just follows trends in the art world.

Hodges is a real product of his age. An easy historical line can be drawn from Duchamp to Warhol to Hodges. Broken glass was Duchamps happy accident, Hodges intentionally breaks glass and mirrors to celebrate the reflections and abstractions this material produces. Though Hodges goes a step further by glamorizing the breaks with a kind of disco effect in a work like Rehearsal for a Perfect Day. This points to Warhol’s influence on Hodge’s work. Of course, Warhol’s obsession with glamorous lifestyles has heavily influenced many other late twentieth century and twenty- first century artists. In some of Hodges’ work, the conversation about kitsch is an inevitable line he reaches. With the fake flowers and chain webs, he passes the point of tacky and cheap. I thought I was at the Dallas Contemporary for just a moment. I really felt that much of these works were just a complete and total failure. However, failures in very interesting ways, because the chains caught my attention, drew me in, but on closer investigation, let me down. The fake flowers felt cheap, but somehow strengthened the other works that related to the natural world. A kind of over the top artifice which drove home the point that all Hodges or anyone else can make is mere shadows of life.

On the other hand, I was completely mesmerized by his large works on paper that had been cut out in little small parts. Plus the very simple, but compelling music scores that were cut-up into a totally new composition. Hodges wall of flower drawings on napkins was completely charming. I got the sense he has his artistic production always on his mind, wherever he goes.

For a totally engrossing experience, Hodges uses several strategies. The panorama, and still this, 2005-2008, gold with Beva adhesive on gessoed linen, invited you in to look around at its Barque walls. I was more repelled by the gold than attracted, but the movement in designs slowed my retreat. Another repelling and attracting work was the dark gate, but only because it felt menacing with the sharp points and whiffs of perfume. His monumental textile of clouds was only on one wall of a room, but the work filled the space. Living in Texas, the sky is a common subject for phone photographers, so I wasn’t really too engaged with the imagery. But for whatever reason, I was compelled to give the piece some extra amount of my time.

The main vault was like a maze. Smaller framed works were around every corner. I was a little lost when it came to understanding the progression of time in Hodges career. So, I had to take a break from the show and wander a bit around the museum. I refreshed myself with a little drawing activity, provided by their Pop-up gallery stand. But, after my circles and square drawings, I was back at it. I was determined to sort out my thoughts on Jim Hodges, but I epically failed this task. Hodges is great and bad at the same time, but so were the past masters. Make up your mind at the Dallas Museum of Art. The show runs through January 12th 2014. for more images

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