The doors to the Modern may be locked to the public right now, but the Fort Worth museum is still bringing art into the community. A new season of the public program Modern Billings will feature the work of six artists on billboards in under-served communities on the outskirts of downtown.
"By featuring works from a variety of artists along Jacksboro Highway and the Lancaster corridor in Fort Worth, Modern Billings extends the reach of the Modern and the education department into new communities," the museum says in a release. "The large-scale installations provide an intervention opportunity for contemporary art in urban landscapes while offering a public exhibition platform for under-recognized artists."
Assistant curators of education Jesse Morgan Barnett and Tiffany Wolf Smith work with emerging and student artists to put their imagery and text onto billboards from Clear Channel Outdoor. The billboards might otherwise be used to present commercial advertisements rather than cultural curiosities, they say.
The billboard format also, they point out, allows artwork to be viewed in isolation, out car windows, or from computer monitors.
"This Modern Billings iteration comes at a precarious time for artists and students, especially those having their final graduate exhibitions cancelled or postponed," the release says. "With normal operations temporarily upended due to COVID-19, nearly all of these participating artists have graduate thesis exhibitions affected."
These are the new locations and participating artists, with descriptions provided by the museum:
2130 Jacksboro Hwy. (76164)
Karley Adrion is a designer based in Fort Worth. She earned her BS in Advertising/Public Relations from Abilene Christian University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Visual Communication Design from the University of Texas at Arlington. Her graduate work explores themes of community and communication, specifically examining areas in which engagement and understanding can be improved among various groups of people.
6602 Lancaster Ave. (76112)
Nathalie Alfonso was born in Bogotá, Colombia, holds a BFA from Florida International University, and is currently pursuing an MFA at Southern Methodist University. Alfonso has exhibited and performed her work in galleries, universities, and public spaces such as Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, Site131, and Liliana Bloch Gallery, Dallas; Marymount University, Washington, DC; Spinello Projects and The Annex, Fordistas, Miami; Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida; Miami Beach Urban Studios and Miami Beach Botanical Gardens; The Projects in FATVillage, Fort Lauderdale; and La Factoría, Guayaquil, Ecuador. She has curated and exhibited in Miami and Fort Lauderdale for the past four years. Her work investigates the value of manual labor, the degeneration of the body, and notions of impermanence through drawing, installation, and video.
3800 E. Lancaster Ave. (76103)
Chris Wright Evans is an artist interested in the ways people relate to objects and place, and how we generate reality through photography. After graduating from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, Evans moved to New York City, where he lived and worked until 2017, printing for the photographer Joel Meyerowitz and retouching for Droga5 and Urban Print & Motion. In 2014, Evans was selected as a finalist and alternate for the Fulbright Award, and in 2016 a portfolio of his work received honorable mention from juror Mickalene Thomas at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York. His photographs have been exhibited across the United States and have been featured in print and online. In 2018 and 2019, he was a finalist for the Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas Project Fund. In the spring of 2020, Evans will receive his MFA from the University of North Texas.
5426 Jacksboro Hwy. (76114)
Sierra Forester is an artist who grew up in northern California and is now living and working in Texas. In her work, she emphasizes the immediate environment through found materials and installation. Forester works through observing, questioning, and attempting to understand what cannot be understood. Through autonomic gestures, her aim is to grasp and visualize our existence and the constructs we build around us, however lofty that may be. Frequent topics in Forester's work include the social frameworks we use to navigate our relationship with the world as well as our perception of time. Minimal in form, her work remains open-ended and porous with hopes of allowing a multitude of perceptions to be drawn.
6890 Lancaster Ave. (76112)
Philip Martin, born in Irving, is a oscillating interdisciplinary artist living and working in North Texas. Martin earned his BFA from the University of North Texas in 2004 and is currently pursuing an MFA in Art, Technology, and Emerging Communication at the University of Texas at Dallas.
5300 Jacksboro Hwy. (76114)
Katie H. Ritchie is a teaching artist living in Commerce, Texas. Her work explores corn and its reach into our lives beyond the supermarket while questioning the targeted demographics of the political plant. Ritchie's current series employs 3D-printed objects, photography, projections, digital drawings, and sculptural elements. Her most recent exhibitions include Lines of Thought, CICA Museum, Gimpo, South Korea; Higher Learning, Fort Worth Community Arts Center; and A Contemporary Drawing Exhibition, Indiana University Union Street Gallery, Kokomo. She currently teaches at Commerce High School while seeking her MFA at Texas A&M University-Commerce (candidate for graduation in May 2020) and was chosen for the Graduate Excellence Award in 2019.