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Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson
At the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Center, March 6-September 9, 2007

January 23, 2007

LOS ANGELES—Contemporary art will be a major part of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s program of exhibitions this spring with the presentation of Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson, March 6 – September 9, 2007 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Center.  Hawkinson’s newly commissioned work will be on view in a special gallery on the Terrace Level of the West Pavilion, adjacent to the Museum’s new galleries for photographs.  At the same time, the artist’s monumental Überorgan will make its West Coast debut in the Museum’s Entrance Hall.

Hawkinson is currently completing his new works for Zoopsia, an exhibition comprised of four interrelated objects involving zoological forms, including an octopus, a bat, and a brontosaurus, which will be installed in a single space of approximately 750 square feet. Hawkinson frequently uses his own body as a source and subject for his works, and has been known to use diverse household and industrial materials that range from cardboard, soda cans, and duct tape to human hair and fingernails to traditionally cast bronze and lead in the making of his art. His creations defy characterization.

The exhibition marks the beginning of a new program of exhibitions at the Getty Museum focused on contemporary art and its relevance to the Museum’s collection and mission.

“We are tremendously excited by the opportunity to present new work by Tim Hawkinson, one of the most inventive artists of our time,” says Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum.  “Between the growing strengths of our photographs collection, exhibitions like Bill Viola’s The Passions in 2003, the active engagement of artists in our educational and performing arts programs, and more recently the acceptance of the late Fran and Ray Stark’s gift of modern and contemporary sculpture, the Getty Museum has already demonstrated a selective, but very creative, commitment to contemporary art.  Exhibitions like this one allow us to put our own collections in a new light and make explicit the links between historical and current artistic practice, while also providing artists like Tim Hawkinson with a unique venue in which to display their work.”

Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson is curated by Peggy Fogelman, assistant director for education and interpretive programs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.  Fogelman was associate curator of sculpture at the Getty Museum from 1987 to 2000 and has wide-ranging expertise in sculpture from the Renaissance to the present.  She co-organized several sculpture exhibitions at the Getty Museum, including Rome on the Grand Tour (2001), Adriaen de Vries, Imperial Sculptor (1999-2000), and Foundry to Finish: Bronzecasting in the Studio of Adriaen de Vries (1999-2000). She was also an advisor on the development of programs for the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas and co-authored a book on Robert Graham’s Great Bronze Doors for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. 

Überorgan Makes its West Coast Debut

In conjunction with Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson, the Getty will install, for the first time on the West Coast, the artist’s monumental Überorgan, a “self-playing, walk-in organ” comprised of “twelve bus-size biomorphic balloons, each with its own horns tuned to a different note in an octave.”   The installation’s musical score consists of a 200-foot-long scroll of dots and dashes encoding old hymns, pop classics, and improvisational tunes.  Poly tubes channel air from a compressor to inflate the balloons and connect them one to the other.

Each installation of Überorgan is unique to the site.  At the Getty Center, the piece will be installed in the Museum’s Entrance Hall, transforming the space and the visitor’s first experiences.  Hawkinson will oversee the installation.

Überorgan has been shown at MassMOCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, and at the Ace Gallery and the IBM atrium in New York City.  The Getty’s installation marks the first time Überorgan will be shown outside the East Coast.

Tim Hawkinson

Born in San Francisco in 1960, Tim Hawkinson lives and works in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of San Jose State University and earned his MFA at UCLA in 1989.

Hawkinson’s first comprehensive solo show was  the 1996 exhibition Humongolous: Sculptures and Other Works by Tim Hawkinson, organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, which traveled to the Akron Art Museum (1996), the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (1996), and other venues.  He has participated in numerous group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including the Venice Biennale (1999), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2000), the Power Plant in Toronto, Canada (2000), the Whitney Biennial in New York (2002), and the Corcoran Biennial in Washington, D.C. (2003).  In 2005, a large survey of Hawkinson’s work was mounted at the Whitney and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Although Hawkinson intentionally leaves his work open to individual interpretation and experience, many critics perceive themes of mortality, temporality, and spirituality in Hawkinson’s art, particularly in those works which incorporate temporal and physical measuring devices and evocations of the human body.  Many of his pieces are mechanized, and their movements are sometimes keyed to musical compositions, emit sound, emulate breathing, cause the release of water, or record the passage of time.  Other works result from a reconfiguration of reality.  Regardless of which medium Hawkinson chooses, the materials and processes he uses are integrally connected to their reception and meaning.

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Beth Laski
Getty Communications

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