Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum names Teresita Fernández as speaker for third annual Lenhardt Lecture
Phoenix Art Museum names Teresita Fernández as speaker for third annual Lenhardt Lecture
Nov, 10, 2020
Exhibitions and Special InstallationsModern and Contemporary ArtLatin American ArtSpecial Events and Programs
Phoenix Art Museum names Teresita Fernández as speaker for third annual Lenhardt Lecture
Virtual lecture on December 10 coincides with Teresita Fernández: Elemental exhibition, now on view
PHOENIX (November 10, 2020) – On December 10, 2020, Phoenix Art Museum will present internationally renowned artist Teresita Fernández as the speaker for the Museum’s third annual Lenhardt Lecture, a key component of the Dawn and David Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative. Considered one of the most innovative artists of her generation, Fernández, who was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2005, is best known for her immersive installations and sculptures and her monumental public-art commissions. The 2020 Lenhardt Lecture featuring Fernández coincides with the presentation at Phoenix Art Museum of Teresita Fernández: Elemental, a mid-career survey exhibition of the artist’s work, now on view through January 3, 2021. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Lenhardt Lecture will be presented virtually and live-streamed at 6 pm on December 10, 2020. This virtual event is free for Museum Members and open to the public with a suggested donation.
“We are delighted to announce Teresita Fernández as the speaker for the Museum’s upcoming Lenhardt Lecture,” said Tim Rodgers, PhD, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “This year’s event is a particularly unique opportunity for our audiences to hear from an internationally recognized artist who has more than 50 large-scale sculptures, installations, and mixed-media wall works currently on view in our galleries here at the Museum. We are grateful for the ongoing generosity of Dawn and David Lenhardt, whose support has made this virtual event possible and whose landmark initiative continues to expose our community to some of the most innovative and significant contemporary artists working today.”
Based in New York, Fernández is renowned for her prominent public installations and experiential sculptures. Through her practice, she explores perception and the psychology of looking, inspired by a rethinking of landscape and place and regularly manipulating light and space to create immersive, intimate, and evocative experiences for individual viewers. Fernández emphasizes the connection between place and material, using gold, graphite, iron-ore, charcoal, and other minerals that have loaded historical ties to colonization and the violence embedded in the landscape. Her work is characterized by a quiet unraveling of place, power, visibility, and erasure. Minimalist yet substantive installations and sculptures evoke landscapes, the elements, and various natural wonders, including meteor showers, clouds formations, and the night sky. Fernández, who has created site-specific commissions for such public spaces as Harvard College, Madison Square Park, and Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003, and in 2005, she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow for “integrating architecture and the optical effects of color and light into exquisitely constructed, contemplative spaces,” according to the Foundation’s website. Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams, Mass.); Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (Fla.); and Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas), among others. Her work can be found in various international public and private collections, including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (N.Y.); The Museum of Modern Art (N.Y.); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Mass.); Israel Museum (Tel Aviv, Israel); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (Fla.); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Calif.).
“The Lenhardt Lecture is designed to expose our community to impactful, dynamic artists who are making a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art,” said David Lenhardt, vice chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “This year, Dawn and I are thrilled to welcome Teresita Fernández because not only is she considered one of the most innovative artists of her generation, her advocacy work has helped to open doors and make space for other Latinx artists and curators in the art world.”
Fernández currently has work on view at Phoenix Art Museum through January 3, 2021 as part of Teresita Fernández: Elemental, her first mid-career survey. Co-organized by Phoenix Art Museum and Pérez Art Museum Miami, Elemental features more than 50 large-scale sculptures, installations, and mixed-media wall works that span the mid-1990s to the present, offering a comprehensive view of Fernández’s career to date and introducing Arizona audiences to the artist’s evocative creations that reinterpret the relationships between nature, history, and identity. Featured works include Untitled (1997), a mirrored floor sculpture that references voyeurism but encourages self-reflection from those examining the structure, and Fire (2005), which uses thousands of hand-dyed silk threads to construct flame patterns that become animated by light and air as viewers move around it. Elemental also showcases the artist’s most recent body of work, in which she contrasts the sublime nature of traditional landscapes with the current politically charged climate of the United States. Both Fire (America) 5 (2017) and Charred Landscape (America) (2017) underscore Fernández’s reinterpretation of the land, presenting a contemporary American landscape marred by violence, climate change, and warring ideologies that stand in stark contrast to the idealized vision of the American dream. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated, bilingual publication designed by McGinty, Inc., co-published with DelMonico Prestel Books, and featuring contributions by co-curators Amada Cruz, formerly the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum who now serves as the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO of Seattle Art Museum, Franklin Sirmans, Director of Pérez Art Museum Miami, and María Elena Ortiz, Associate Curator of Pérez Art Museum Miami; Matthew Spellberg, PhD, Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows; Aruna D’Souza, author of Whitewalling: Art, Race & Protests in 3 Acts; and Seph Rodney, PhD, staff writer and editor for Hyperallergic, and adjunct faculty member at Parsons School of Design.
“The work of Teresita Fernández contributes to an urgent debate around diversity and inclusion that is shaping the cultural dialogue of the moment,” said Gilbert Vicario, the Museum’s Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs and the Selig Family Chief Curator, who served as the organizing curator at Phoenix Art Museum for the presentation of Teresita Fernández: Elemental. “We are excited for our Arizona audiences to experience her large-scale artworks, which are forged out of a conceptual framework that questions accepted historical and political narratives and crafted from natural materials with complex relationships tied to colonialism, land, and power.”
Fernandez is the third featured speaker for the annual Lenhardt Lecture, which has previously presented internationally renowned artists Jim Hodges and Daniel Joseph Martinez to Arizona audiences. The Lenhardt Lecture was established as part of the Dawn and David Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative, which seeks to elevate contemporary art at Phoenix Art Museum and provide access to major, international artists working today for the broader Phoenix community. Along with the Lenhardt Lecture, the Lenhardt Initiative also provides resources to acquire new works by next-generation contemporary artists and supports the annual Lenhardt Emerging Artist Lecture, featuring emerging artists on a national scale whose work has been acquired through the Lenhardt Initiative. For more information about the Dawn and David Lenhardt Lecture or Teresita Fernández: Elemental, contact the Communications Office of Phoenix Art Museum at 602.307.2003 or email@example.com.
About Teresita Fernández
Teresita Fernández(b. 1968, Miami, Fla.) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BFA from Florida International University, Miami, in 1990 and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, in 1992. Fernández’s work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking. Her immersive, large-scale works are often inspired by a rethinking of landscape and place, as well as by diverse historical and cultural references. Often referencing the natural world, Fernández’s conceptual practice emphasizes the connection between place and material, using gold, graphite, iron-ore and other minerals that have loaded historical ties to colonization and the violence embedded in the landscape. Her work is characterized by a quiet unraveling of place, power, visibility, and erasure that prompts an intimate experience for individual viewers.
Fernández is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Artist’s Grant, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Appointed by President Obama, she is the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, a 100-year-old federal panel that advises the president and Congress on national matters of design and aesthetics.
Fernández’s works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at The Museum of Modern Art (N.Y.); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Calif.); The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Mass.); The Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C.); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams, Mass.); and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy, among others.
About the Dawn and David Lenhardt Lecture
The Dawn and David Lenhardt Lecture engages Valley audiences with some of the most acclaimed contemporary artists in the world. In 2018, the inaugural lecture presented New-York based artist Jim Hodges, and in 2019, the Museum welcomed Daniel Joseph Martinez, a Los Angeles-based artist, as the lecture’s speaker.
The Lenhardt Lecture is a key component of the Dawn and David Lenhardt Contemporary Art Initiative. Made possible through the generosity of the Arizona-based Lenhardt family, the initiative aims to deepen the Museum’s commitment to contemporary art through various programs and, along with the annual Lenhardt Lecture, includes the Lenhardt Emerging Artist Acquisition Fund, the Museum’s first fund designed specifically to collect works by next-generation contemporary artists; the Lenhardt Emerging Artist Lecture Series, aimed at introducing Valley audiences to emerging contemporary artists on a national scale; and the Dawn and David Lenhardt Gallery, designated for the presentation of contemporary art, including works acquired with funds from the Lenhardt Emerging Artist Acquisition Fund, loans from national and local collectors, and a rotating series of artworks from the Lenhardts’ personal collection.
About Phoenix Art Museum
Since 1959, Phoenix Art Museum has provided millions of guests with access to world-class art and experiences in an effort to ignite imaginations, create meaningful connections, and serve as a brave space for all people who wish to experience the transformative power of art. Located in Phoenix’s Central Corridor, the Museum is a vibrant destination for the visual arts and the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Each year, more than 300,000 guests engage with critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions and the Museum’s collection of more than 20,000 works of American and Western American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed for visitors of all ages, along with vibrant photography exhibitions made possible through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum, visit phxart.org, or call 602.257.1880.