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Billboards Are Canvasses For Art In Modern Billings


by Jessica Cross 28 Apr 2020 1:31 PM

Drive by this art from the Fort Worth Modern and a group of MFA students.

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When was the last time you saw an art installation driving down the highway?

The education department of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is changing the definition of a “gallery space” by working with graduate students stuck in isolation to bring their art to the people of Fort Worth, via highway billboards.

This new season of billboard art, called Modern Billings, is sponsored in part by Clear Channel Outdoor. This installation is a collaboration with Temporary Collectives, a joint graduate-school project, and features six graduate students’ artistic works in billboard format along the Jacksboro Highway and Lancaster Corridor in Fort Worth. The billboards will be up for 6 weeks from March 30.

The Modern Billings installation, “is a really great opportunity for us to highlight artists that have worked so hard and are struggling right now,” said Tiffany Wolf Smith, assistant curator of education at The Modern. “We love our artists that we work with.”

To choose the six featured artists, the Modern worked with Temporary Collectives, which brings together arts graduate students from  Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington, Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Dallas, and Texas A&M-Commerce.

Temporary Collectives was born in 2014, the idea of Butch McGregor, who owns property in West Dallas;  Stephen Lapthisophon, an artist and senior lecturer at UT -Arlington; Darryl Lauster, associate professor of sculpture at UT-Arlington, and John Pomara, UT-Dallas professor.

These MFA students get to show off their talent at a time when  exhibitions have been canceled. In designing the billboards, the artists were asked to think about the size, the anonymity of the billboards, and the people who will see the installation. Since there is no reference to the Modern or the artists, the billboards offer some mystery.  “It’s like sanctioned graffiti,” Smith said.

Here’s a look at the billboards and a little bit about each of the artists:

By Karley Adrion.

Karley Adrion, a Fort Worth-based designer pursuing her MFA at UT-Arlington, explores themes of communication and engagement between groups of people. Her billboard is on Jacksboro Highway in Fort Worth.

By Nathalie Alfonso.

Nathalie Alfonso, born in Bogotá, Colombia, is pursuing her MFA at Southern Methodist University. Her work has been exhibited in universities, galleries and public places. Her art observes and questions the value of manual labor, notions of unpredictability and the degeneration of the body. Her billboard is displayed on the Lancaster Corridor of Fort Worth.

By Chris Wright Evans.

Chris Wright Evans explores the generation of reality through photographs as well as the way people relate to objects and places. He is pursuing his MFA at UNT and his work is displayed on the Lancaster Corridor of Fort Worth.

By Sierra Forester.

Sierra Forester, a California native who now works in Texas, emphasizes the immediate environment through found materials in her art. Her work is exhibited on Jacksboro Highway in Fort Worth.

By Philip Martin.

Philip Martin is an interdisciplinary artist pursuing his MFA at the UT-Dallas. His work is on display on the Lancaster Corridor of Fort Worth.

By Katie Ritchie.

Katie H. Ritchie, a teaching artist from Commerce, TX, explores corn and its reach into our lives beyond the supermarket while questioning the targeted demographics of the political plant. She teaches at Commerce High School and works on her MFA at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her billboard is on Jacksboro Highway in Fort Worth.

You can find the exact location of each billboard on The Modern’s website.

 

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