Jim Hodges (artist)

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Jim Hodges
Born (1957-10-16) October 16, 1957 (age 60)
Spokane, Washington
Nationality American
Education Master of Fine Arts
Alma mater Pratt Institute
Known for Sculpture
Notable work
  • Don't Be Afraid
  • Look and See

Jim Hodges (born October 16, 1957) is a New York-based installation artist. He is known for his mixed-media sculptures and collages that involve delicate artificial flowers, mirrors, chains as spiderwebs, and cut-up jeans.

Early life and education[edit]

Jim Hodges was born in Spokane, Washington and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Fort Wright College in 1980. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, in 1986. That year he met art collector Elaine Dannheisser who let him use a studio in the basement of her foundation on Duane Street in exchange for working as a part-time art handler.[1] During this time he abandoned his original medium of painting and started exploring materiality; this became his first major artistic crisis because he had realized that his concepts weren't connecting with his paintings.[1]

After living in Dannheisser's basement for approximately four years, his creativity suffered. Only dedicating three days a week to making art, he eventually became poor, unstable, and lived in his studio illegally until Dannheisser kicked him out.[1] However, after he became sober, his career picked up with a piece called Flesh Suspense (1989–1990).[1]

Style and works[edit]

Since the late 1980s, Hodges created a broad range of work exploring themes of fragility, temporality, love, and death.[2] His works frequently employed different materials and techniques, from ready-made objects to more traditional media, such as metal chains, artificial flowers, gold leaf, and mirrored elements. Hodges' conceptual practice, which addressed overlooked and obvious touchstones of life, reflected human experience and mortality.[2]

Hodges challenged the acceptance of traditionally feminine materials and craft by expanding the possibilities of these materials in his own works.[3] As seen in "With the Wind" (1997) and "You" (1997), he consistently incorporated embroidery to magnify notions of domesticity, a mother's presence, and early notions of femininity.[4]

Originally influenced by the woods of his hometown of Spokane, nature plays a reoccurring role throughout his works. In the years following his graduation from Pratt Institute, Hodges struggled to develop a theme within his works that would express his role as an artist. His use of color disappeared during this period, when he abandoned painting and gradually developed a process of creation through destruction.[1] Color was reincorporated when he began using fabric flowers. Hodges did not intend this as an appropriation of nature but its antithesis: fake flowers.[1]

During the late 1990s, artists responded to the AIDS epidemic with forms of expression ranging from the written word to abstract artistic statements reflected in anger or elegy. This movement led to iconic artwork influenced by advocacy group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). Hodges' work emerged through the direct influence of his personal experience, and through his notions of love and acceptance towards the self and those in other circumstances.[1][according to whom?]

A Little Extra Something[edit]

In A Little Extra Something (1990–1991) Hodges covered the surface of a sheet of paper with theatrical make-up, where the paper resembled skin and the makeup showed delight in its application. This piece, according to Hodges, alluded to his own homosexuality.[5]

Saliva-transfer drawings[edit]

In 1992 Hodges incorporated himself into the material of his pieces through the use of his saliva. He drew ink doodles of spider webs, clovers, chains, lines, spirals, and a matrix of dots, then blurred them with his saliva by pressing the wet images against another paper and created different printed impressions. Hodges said that by using his saliva with his materials, it revealed a "sensuous act", where his hand would draw the images and his mouth would transmit it. This expressed Hodges' empowerment, and was intended to disrupt the preconception of bodily fluids as something horrifying.[6]

Don't Be Afraid[edit]

In 2004 Hodges was invited by Susan Stoops, a curator at the Worcester Art Museum, to create a mural on the museum rotunda. During this time, the U.S. government was raising concerns of public safety with a series of alerts. Responding to this and the destruction of the World Trade Center, Hodges offered the message "don't be afraid" for comfort and support to the citizens of America. He wrote a letter of invitation to all the UN delegates, incorporating their handwritten versions of this phrase to create a global chorus that conveyed a message of inclusion, strength, and optimism.[1][7] Hodges had received more than one hundred translations in over seventy languages; the only country which refused to participate was the United States.[1]

Untitled (2010)[edit]

In 2010, Hodges was invited to speak about his friend and colleague Felix Gonzalez-Torres at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. Instead of a lecture, Hodges collaborated with Carlos Marques da Cruz and Encke King in a 60-minute film called Untitled (2010). The film quilted fragments from various social media outlets such as the 1980s AIDS/HIV activism of ACT UP, TV shows such as The Golden Girls, Dynasty, and The Wizard of Oz, and images of the burning oil fields of Iraq and the death camps of World War II.[8] Hodges described this work as a fragment of a continuum which could be added or reworked endlessly. Hodges attempted to mirror the content that shaped the life of Torres[according to whom?] before he lost his battle with AIDS in 1996.[1]

Exhibitions and permanent installations[edit]

Hodges had been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe and his work had been included in various group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Hodges is currently[when?] a senior critic in the Sculpture Department at the Yale University School of Art.[citation needed]

Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take was a mid-career retrospective of Hodges' work organized by the Walker Art Center and the Dallas Museum of Art. This exhibition opened at the Dallas Museum on October 6, 2013, and visited the Walker in Minneapolis, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, scheduled to close January 17, 2015.[needs update] The retrospective was accompanied by a large-format appraisal of Hodges' work, edited by Jeffrey Grove and Olga Viso.[citation needed]

Hodges' piece Don't Be Afraid was installed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2005.[citation needed] A recent large-scale sculpture, look and see (a nine-ton stainless steel abstraction of camouflage) was purchased by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York in 2007.[citation needed]

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2016: I dreamed a world and called it Love, Gladstone Gallery, New York; With Liberty and Justice for All, rooftop installation, The Contemporary, Austin, Texas, TX; Jim Hodges, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • 2015: Jim Hodges, Gladstone Gallery, Brussels
  • 2013: Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take, Dallas Museum of Art/ Walker Art Center, Dallas, Texas, TX
  • 2012: Jim Hodges: Drawings, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, Colorado
  • 2010: New Work, Dieu Donne Papermill, New York, NY
  • 2009: Love et cetera, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; toured to Camden Art Centre, London, England (2009); Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice, Italy (2009)
  • 2009: You Will See Things, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, CO
  • 2008: Jim Hodges, CRG Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2005: Jim Hodges: This line to you, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostello, Spain; Look and See, Creative Time Commission at the Ritz Carlton Plaza, Battery Park, New York, NY; Directions - Jim Hodges, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.
  • 2002: Jim Hodges: Constellation of an Ordinary Day, Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
  • 1994: A Diary Of Flowers, CRG Art, Inc., New York, NY
  • 1992: New AIDS Drug, Het Apollohuis, Eindhoven, The Netherlands



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take. Dallas Museum of Art. 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Jim Hodges". stephenfriedman.com. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ Leonard, Stacey. "'Jim Hodges: Give More than You Take,' Institute of Contemporary Art/ Boston". bu.edu. SEQUITUR. Retrieved February 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ Riddle, Mason (2014). Jim Hodge: Give More than You Take (vol. 39 ed.). Surface Design Journal. pp. 62–63. 
  5. ^ Spears, Dorothy. “Evidence of a Life Lived.” Vol. 10, no. 3, 2006, pp. 64–69., www.jstor.org.proxylib.csueastbay.edu/stable/24556715. Accessed 27 Feb. 2018.
  6. ^ Spears, Dorothy. “Evidence of a Life Lived.” Vol. 10, no. 3, 2006, pp. 64–69., www.jstor.org.proxylib.csueastbay.edu/stable/24556715. Accessed 27 Feb. 2018.
  7. ^ Viso, Olga (February 14, 2014). "Choreographing Experiences in Space: Olga Viso Interviews Jim Hodges". walkerart.org. Retrieved March 26, 2017. 
  8. ^ Schmelzer, Paul (November 29, 2011). "Jim Hodges on AIDS, Social Change, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres' Art". walkerart.org. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 

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