Modern Art

Modern Art is delighted to announce its second solo show with Tom Burr. 

During the past two decades Tom Burr has earned a critical reputation as a leading figure in American contemporary art. Emerging within a generation of artists, for whom the appropriation of the minimalist vernacular was used as a conceptual strategy, he is known for a reductive series of works that parallels the human body with a brutal and austere geometry, as well as an indexical use of portraiture.

Burr utilises his sculpture as a façade — to pin pages of books or magazines, drape clothes, to display discarded objects (such as bottles of alcohol and a decanter, mirrors or a telephone receiver). These assemblages symbolically invoke the signs and debris of a cultural personae. 

In these latest works Burr takes his signature practice to a new reductive, elemental level: referencing his own infamous exhibition from 42nd Street Structures’ (1995), these works replace his recent monochromic structures with those made of raw untreated plywood.

One of these sculptures, Unplug Me Please (in Purple)’ (2009), is a wooden box that leans back against the wall of the space: a minimalist sculpture on which elements have been hung on clothing hangers, such as a three quarter length mans coat and a dress shirt. The side of the piece is illuminated by a purple neon text.

The recent introduction of neon signs in Burr’s production title’ his structures and can be interpreted as a more personal reference or biography. However, by representing text extracts such as Head Ache’, Unplug Me’ or White Tube Socks’ these signs, moreover, evade a direct interpretation of his work, in favour of a more ambiguous and compelling open ended territory.

A new series of Bulletin Boards’ are pinned with imagery taken from vintage magazines (Harper’s Bazaar, Fortune, Esquire, Life), using categories of selection such as brain’, brain dead’, blindness’, emptiness’, blankness’ and head aches’. Together with additional empty record sleeves, these eloquent collages form a significant part of the exhibition.

Tom Burr will have a two person show Bonvicini/​Burr, with Monica Bonvicini, opening at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich, opening in May and later travelling to Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel. He has recently been the subject of significant solo shows at Seccession, Vienna, The Sculpture Centre, NewYork and at the Museé Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Recent group shows include Political/​Minimal’ at Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, The Station’, curated by Nate Lowman & Shamin Momin, Miami, In the Cherished Company of Others’ at de Appel, Art Centre for Art, Amsterdam, and Unmonumental’ curated by Richard Flood, Laura Hoptman and Massimiliano Gioni at the New Museum, New York.