Jim Hodges (artist)

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Jim Hodges
Born (1957-10-16) October 16, 1957 (age 60)
Spokane, Washington
Nationality American
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 multi-media sculptures and collages that involve delicate artificial flowers, mirrors, chains as spiderwebs, and cut up jeans.

Early life and education[edit]

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. In the same year, he met a collector named Elaine Dannheisser who gave him a studio in the basement of her foundation on Duane Street in exchange for working as a part-time art handler.[1] He had also abandoned his original medium of painting and started exploring materiality. This moment 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 art took a fall. 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, his career picked itself back up after he became sober, which led to a piece called Flesh Suspense (1989-1990).[1]

Style and works[edit]

Since the late 1980s, Hodges has created a broad range of work exploring themes of fragility, temporality, love, and death utilizing an original and poetic vocabulary.[2] His works frequently employ different materials and techniques, from ready-made objects to more traditional media, such as metal chains, artificial flowers, gold leaf, and mirrored elements. Charting both the overlooked and obvious touchstones of life with equal attention and poignancy, Hodges’ conceptual practice reflects on the presence of the human experience and the idea of life and death.[2]

Hodges has also challenged the limits of feminine materials and craft by expanding the possibilities of these materials through his own poetic sensibilities.[3] As seen in works such as "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 he grew up with in Spokane, Washington, nature plays a reoccurring role throughout his works. Throughout the years of 1987-1991, he had struggled to develop a theme within his works that express his role as an artist. His use of color also disappeared during this period. Afterwards, he gradually developed a process of creation through destruction.[1]

Incorporating color was reintroduced after he began using fabric flowers. Through this material, Hodges didn't intend to appropriate nature, but he had intended to use the antithesis of nature: fake flowers.[1]

During the late 1990s, Jim Hodges emerged from an art world that pressured artists to respond to the AIDS epidemic. Artists' potent responses materialized in various forms of expression ranging from the written word to abstract artistic statements. For all artists, both straight and gay, the responses to AIDS reflected in either anger or elegy. The responses eventually led to iconic artwork influenced by activists and artists associated with an advocacy group called the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). Despite the financial setbacks and tragic period, Hodges' work emerged through the direct influence of his personal experience, but more importantly, through his notions of love and acceptance towards oneself and of others in different circumstances.[1]

Don't Be Afraid (2004)[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 government under George W. Bush's administration raised fear into the public by stating that it's safer to be on alert, implying that the public is not safe at all. Along with responding to 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 also tried to reach out to individuals who speak in different languages by writing a letter of invitation to all the UN delegates. By doing so, his mural also provided a worldwide range of voices, creating a global chorus that conveyed a message of inclusion, strength, and optimism.[1][5] Hodges had received over one hundred translations in over seventy languages. The only country that refused to participate was the United States.[1]

Untitled (2010)[edit]

In 2010, Hodges was invited to speak about his dear friend and fellow artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres at Artpace in San Antonio, Texas. Rather than creating a Powerpoint presentation, 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, images of the burning oil fields of Iraq, the death camps of World War II, and much more.[6] Hodges described this work as a fragment of a continuum which suggests that the film will never have a complete start or finish line because the film can always be added or reworked endlessly. In a way, Hodges attempted to mirror the content that shaped the life of Torres before he lost his battle with the AIDS disease in 1996.[1]

Recognition and honors[edit]

Hodges has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe and his work has been included in various group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Hodges is currently a Senior Critic in the Sculpture Department at the Yale University School of Art.

"Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take" is a mid-career retrospective of Hodges’ work organized by the Walker Art Center and the Dallas Museum of Art, which opened at the Dallas Museum on October 6, 2013, then moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to open at the Walker on February 15, 2014. The retrospective also showcased at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston until September 1, 2014, when it will move to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles from October 5, 2014, until January 17, 2015. A large format appraisal of Hodges' work edited by Jeffrey Grove and Olga Viso, Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take accompanies the retrospective.

Hodges' piece "Don't Be Afraid" was installed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2005. 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.

Jim Hodges is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels, and Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco [1].

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


Untitled (one day it all comes true), 2013. Embroidered denim.
Untitled (one day it all comes true), 2013. Inspired by the sunsets during his time in upstate New York, Jim Hodges embroidered this textile work out of denim.


  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. ^ Viso, Olga (February 14, 2014). "Choreographing Experiences in Space: Olga Viso Interviews Jim Hodges". walkerart.org. Retrieved March 26, 2017. 
  6. ^ Schmelzer, Paul (November 29, 2011). "Jim Hodges on AIDS, Social Change, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres' Art". walkerart.org. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 

External links[edit]