New Contemporary Photography Fund to bring Alia Ali, Kirk D. McKoy and Eugenia Vargas-Pereira to TMA in 2022
Installation view of Cartographies of Pattern, a solo exhibition of works by Alia Ali on view at Foto Relevance in Houston, TX. A work from the FLUX Series, included in this exhibition, is the first acquisition made through TMA’s new Contemporary Photography Fund, and a project with the artist is planned at TMA for fall 2022. Courtesy of Foto Relevance.
There are currently 512 photographic works by 80 artists in TMA’s permanent collection, and that number is growing thanks to a new Contemporary Photography Fund. It was established to continue TMA’s focus on acquisition, research, operational support and exhibition of this medium.
The fund was founded by four longtime TMA donors: Patricia Carr Morgan, Peter F. Salomon, Kenneth J. Riskind and Judith H. Riskind. “We see a future with new acquisitions and exhibits, and new visitors of all ages to TMA,” said Kenneth Riskind. He added that anyone can donate any amount to the Contemporary Photography Fund.
“Contemporary Photography” is a general category for photography from the 1970s onward. It is characterized by new technologies and formats, including color photography, digital manipulation and large-scale printing techniques. According to Jeremy Mikolajczak, Jon and Linda Ender Director and CEO, “This new public fund has two strategic objectives: build a collection of world-class, regionally significant contemporary photography, and represent the works of diverse communities, cultures, identities and perspectives incorporating new technologies and formats.”
The fund’s primary focus is to build, through acquisitions, a world-class, regionally significant collection of contemporary photography. It will also support:
- Exhibition: feature photography exhibitions, the inclusion of photography in group and collection exhibitions, and annual photography changeouts in the Kenneth J. and Judith H. Riskind/Patricia Carr Morgan and Peter F. Salomon Gallery.
- Preservation: the conservation and maintenance of contemporary photographs accessioned in the museum’s permanent art collection, including operating expenses, framing, repair, cleaning and restoration.
- Scholarly research: efforts by TMA staff in continue research in contemporary photography and support invitations of scholars and lecturers for research opportunities and public lectures.
First Acquisition: Interstellar by Alia Ali
Alia Ali, Interstellar, from the “FLUX Series,” 2021, pigment print on photo rag 310 gsm. with UV protective laminate mounted on aluminum dibond in wooden frame upholstered with wax print, edition 2 of 5 + 1AP + 1 EP, 49 x 35 x 3 in. Collection of the Tucson Museum of Art. Museum Purchase. Funds provided by TMA Contemporary Photography Fund. 2021.15
The first acquisition made through TMA’s new Contemporary Photography Fund is a work by internationally acclaimed multi-media artist Alia Ali. Interstellar, from the FLUX series (2019–2021), will be on view starting in October 2021. A forthcoming project with the artist is slated for fall of 2022.
In FLUX, Ali draws the viewer’s attention to the textile as a document in which politics, economics and histories collide. The series focuses specifically on wax print, a wax-resist dyeing technique with multiple names including African wax print, Dutch wax print, Ankara and batik. Wax prints were first seen in India, China and Java. Colonial trading by the British and the Dutch moved objects, ideas and humans across land and, more often, water. Trans-global trade routes networked across the oceans and seas from Europe, around Africa, along the Arabian coast, through South Asia reaching East Asia, and back. This fabric maps colonial trade routes, complicating the origin of the textiles whereby they exist in a constant state of flux.
FLUX is a series of shifting photographic artworks depicting silhouettes that are warped by textile, saturated in colors and patterns. Each frame is upholstered with wax print from Cote d’Ivoire, resulting in sculptural works. With bursts of saturated colors and hyperoptic motifs, the images seem to vibrate, obscuring the complex and sometimes iniquitous origins of the fabrics.
Alia Ali is a Yemeni-Bosnian-US multi-media artist. Having traveled to sixty-seven countries, lived in and between seven, and grown up among five languages, her most comfortable mode of communication is through photography, video, and installation. Her travels have led her to process the world through interactive experiences and the belief that the damage of translation and interpretation of written language has dis-served particular communities, resulting in the threat of their exclusion, rather than a means of understanding. Alia’s work reflects on the politics of contested notions of linguistics, identity, borders, universality, colonization, mental/physical confinement, and the inherent dualism that exists in each of them.
Her work has been featured in the Financial Times, Le Monde, Vogue, and Hyperallergic. Alia has won numerous awards and has exhibited internationally. Her work is in collections at Princeton University, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the British Museum and numerous international private collections.
Alia Ali lives and works in Los Angeles and Marrakech, and is currently in residency at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program (RAiR) in Roswell, New Mexico.
Eugenia Vargas Pereira, from the series Tus ojos cuentan la historia (Your Eyes Tell the Story) 2019/2020; a series of photographic portraits and an inquiry into masked females, particularly the way Chilean feminists appropriated it as their insignia of personal creative expression and self-defense.
The fund will support photography-related programs at TMA. Two inaugural programs, presented in partnership with the Leadership Circle Lecture Series, are planned for the 2021/22 season.
Kirk D. McKoy
February 22, 2022, 6:00 p.m.
Kirk D. McKoy is a former Senior Photo Editor/Photographer at the LA Times and a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for his work covering the Los Angeles riots in 1992. His lecture will be presented in conjunction with the feature exhibition Patrick Martinez: Look What You Created.
March 9 2022, 6:00 p.m.
Eugenia Vargas-Pereira, born in Chillán, Chile, is a multi-disciplinary artist known for her photography, time-based installations and performances. She is based in Tucson, and Santiago, Chile. Vargas-Pereira represented Chile at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and was included in the major exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, organized by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California.