Tony Feher

MAY 11 – SEPTEMBER 2, 2012

The Des Moines Art Center is pleased to present this survey dedicated to American artist Tony Feher. Organized by Chief Curator Claudia Schmuckli of the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, the exhibition and accompanying monograph represent the first attempt at a comprehensive, in-depth consideration of the artist’s career to date. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1956, Feher was brought up in Corpus Christi, Texas and pursued a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas. He now lives in New York City.

The exhibition seeks to reveal the richness, complexity, and impact of Feher’s investigations through a careful selection of 60 key works that revolve around a very personal formal, material, and spatial vocabulary developed and refined over the past two decades. His proud embrace of fragility, transience and emotion, along with his preference for non-precious, commonly available materials and found objects, has been highly influential with a younger generation of artists who have similarly decided to become archivists of their own lives and personal journeys.

Although Feher’s materials are humble and easily acquired, they are very specific, sought after and chosen for their distinct and inimitable formal qualities. Feher emphasizes the importance of seeing objects for what they are. Whether it is an unwieldy coil of neon monofilament exploding from the mouth of an open jar or bright marbles resting atop a collection of choreographed empty bottles, the artist accentuates the characteristics inherent in his materials. “I think it’s unfair to pass judgment on beings or things because they are perceived to be on the low end of someone else’s scale,” Feher once said. “The idea that they don’t have value is simply ridiculous. I think there’s beauty and importance and character in absolutely everyone and everything. A single pebble on a beach is as extraordinary as a mountaintop. I look for the ‘trick’ in materials, that indescribable something that allows me to exploit an object for my own purposes: a reflection of light, a color, a play of density versus transparency, a little something that sets it off.”

This exhibition—the first survey of the artist’s career to date—will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated monograph with essays by Claudia Schmuckli and Russell Ferguson, Chair, Department of Art, UCLA; designed by Takaaki Matsumoto Inc., New York; and published and distributed by Gregory R. Miller & Co., New York. Laura Burkhalter, associate curator is the organizing curator for the Des Moines Art Center's presentation of this exhibition.

Tony Feher is organized by Claudia Schmuckli, Director and Chief Curator, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. The exhibition and publication are made possible, in part, by The Cecil Amelia Blaffer von Furstenberg Endowment for Exhibitions and Programs, Houston Endowment Inc., ACME., Anthony Meier Fine Arts, Hiram Butler and Devin Borden, D'Amelio Terras, Jennifer and Jeff Eldredge, The Pace Gallery, Despina Papafote Caldwell and Don Ballard, Julie A. Cohn and John A. Connor, Douglas and Jennifer Bosch, Martha Claire Tompkins, Sissy and Denny Kempner, Mary and Bernard Arocha, Leslie and Brad Bucher, Hiendarsanti Darmodjo, Heidi and David Gerger, Theodore J. Lee and Marc A. Sekula, Judy and Scott Nyquist, and Kenneth and Michelle Zagorski.

Tony Feher (American, born 1956)
Blossom, 2008
Each: 48 x 96 x 24 inches; overall dimensions variable
Photograph by Jason Mandella

entirely unexpected