Interactive, performative installation combining art, music, and dance by Tony Feher opens at DiverseWorks
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Interactive, performative installation combining art, music, and dance by Tony Feher opens at DiverseWorks
Tony Feher, Untitled, 2011. Photography G.R. Christmas, courtesy The Pace Gallery.

HOUSTON, TX.- DiverseWorks presents Tony Feher: Free Fall, a commissioned installation by the critically acclaimed mid-career artist on view January 19 – March 16, 2013, with an opening reception on Friday, January 18 from 7 – 9 pm. Admission is free. A full press release and an image are attached.

Feher, whose survey exhibition is currently on view at the Blaffer Museum, is known for creating strikingly beautiful sculptures out of seemingly mundane objects. For this experiment, DiverseWorks invited Feher to consider how his sculptural work might inform, relate to, or translate into live performance – a discipline largely unexplored by Feher to date. For Free Fall, Feher will create multiple spaces out of simple materials encompassing DiverseWorks’ main gallery space. The result will be an interactive, performative installation combining art, music, dance, and language. Several Houston-area composers, choreographers, and writers have been chosen by Feher and are creating new work in direct response to the installation and each other.

Each performance in Free Fall will build upon the previous one in some way, resulting in the creation of what can be understood as a fugue. A musical fugue is, by definition, a compositional technique in two or more voices, built on a theme that is introduced at the beginning in imitation and recurs frequently in the course of the composition. Here, Feher introduces the “theme” through the creation of the installation. Subsequent artists – musicians, dancers, and writers – in some way imitate and build upon Feher’s installation. Each new movement, score, or text reacts to and collaborates with its predecessor and previous responses. All of this occurs over the course of the exhibition as a continuing series of variations on Feher’s initial theme.

“Free Fall exemplifies DiverseWorks’ commitment to working with artists in all stages of their careers to create new works, explore new forms, and break new ground,” says DiverseWorks’ Executive Director Elizabeth Dunbar. “This multidisciplinary collaborative project marks a first for Feher, an established artist of notable reputation. It is inspiring to work with an artist like Tony, who at the height of his career is bravely willing to step outside of his comfort zone and take artistic risk. This is exactly what DiverseWorks hopes to encourage.”

Free Fall was purposefully conceived to coincide with the artist’s retrospective exhibition at The Blaffer. Feher’s striking survey provides a context for understanding the artist’s playful yet poetic approach to materials and gives audiences an incredible opportunity to investigate his work more deeply. Although related to the discrete objects on view in the survey, Free Fall aligns with Feher’s site-determined installations, which are created in response to a particular environment and are often temporal in nature.

Tony Feher was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1956, raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and received a BA from The University of Texas in 1978. Since 1980 his work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. He has had solo presentations at Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas; Artpace, San Antonio; Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts; Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; and Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, among many other venues. Feher’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including Everyday Things: Contemporary Works from the Collection, Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; Economy of Means: Toward Humility in Contemporary Sculpture, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Arizona; State of Play, Serpentine Gallery, London; Poetic Justice, 8th International Istanbul Biennial; and Me gusta el plastico, MUPO, Oaxaca, Mexico. Tony Feher, a twenty-year survey organized by Claudia Schmuckli is currently on view at the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum and will travel to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York. Previously it was presented at the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa. He is represented in Houston by Hiram Butler Gallery.

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