Beginning October 6, The Bronx Museum of the Arts
will present Tony Feher, the first in-depth retrospective of work by the artist. The exhibition will include 60 pieces that show the evolution of Fehers practice over the last 25 years. Feher builds sculptures out of found objects including bottles, boxes, bags, and string by stacking, dangling, aligning, and folding them. Relying heavily on materials that would otherwise be regarded as useless, his pieces at once encourage a reexamination of everyday experiences and comment on the relationship between ephemerality and permanence. The exhibition was organized by Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston and Director and Chief Curator Claudia Schmuckli. It will be on view at The Bronx Museum through February 9, 2014.
Over three decades, Fehers distinctive material vocabulary has included marbles (collected in glass jars or spread across the floor to give audiences a birds-eye perspective reminiscent of Fehers own as he walks down city streets looking for materials); soda crates (transformed from unwieldy containers destined for landfills into large-scale geometric sculptures); and plastic bottles (often lined up and filled with brightly colored liquids that form a wave-like line between the bottles). Feher seeks to accentuate the distinct but often overlooked characteristics of these everyday objects, revealing the urban landscape in which they were used and discarded and enabling viewers to see themand the experiences that happen around themanew.
Colorful and playful, Fehers work is also imbued with deep questions about the transience of objects, experience, and life itself, the result of coming of age in a time and place dominated by the overwhelming sense of endangerment brought on by the AIDS epidemic. Feher addresses this crisis in his work through a humanistic lens, bringing permanence and beauty to objects that would otherwise be discarded.
Tony Feher brings joy to objects we often overlook and simultaneously reminds us to think critically about the fleeting nature of life itself, said Holly Block, director of The Bronx Museum. The objects he reframes are ones that were found here in New York City, so our audiences will be intimately familiar with seeing them in one context, and, I expect, happily surprised to see them in another. In this way, the encouragement he offers to reexamine objects and life will be particularly salient here and makes The Bronx Museum a perfect place to reflect on 25 years of his career.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1956, Feher grew up mostly in Corpus Christi, Texas, with early stops in Florida and Virginia, and eventually pursued a BA from the University of Texas. He now lives in New York City. Feher has exhibited extensively in the United States and internationally. His work can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Museum of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; the DesMoines Art Center; La Coléccion Jumex, Mexico City; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.