In what has to be a first –– has to be –– the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is presenting a solo exhibit of a Fort Worthian’s contemporary art. K-Mart Conceptualism will gather about 35 works by Vernon Fisher, who has lived and worked in Fort Worth since 1977, and will hang from September 25 ’til Jan 2, 2011. Drawn from public and private collections across the United States, K-Mart Conceptualism will include paintings, sculptures, and installations dating from the late 1970s to today. “The show,” according to chief curator Michael Auping, “will be a revealing look at a body of work that sprang from an especially interesting moment in contemporary art history,” specifically the late 1970s and early ’80s, “when the legacies of pop art and conceptual art created a unique hybrid between painting and installation, inspiring narratives derived from juxtapositions of language and vernacular imagery.” A lot of pieces blend abstract painting, text, and photorealist (or photographic) imagery. Fisher’s faux-blackboard paintings represent an apotheosis of the style.

Fisher's faux-blackboard paintings represent an apotheosis of a prevalent late-'70s/early-'80s style.
One of Fisher's faux-blackboard paintings.

The show’s brand-name-infused title hints at Fisher’s interest in the front lines of consumer culture. “I have an attraction to that kind of subject matter,” he says, “and have written my share of pieces featuring Dairy Queens, grocery stores, Laundromats, third-rate hotels, etc.”




  1. As excited as I am to learn of Vernon Fisher’s upcoming exhibition at the Modern in Fort Worth, I am disappointed by the faux-flabbergasted tone of your first sentence that implies a disconnect between The Modern and local artists. I implore you to research the historical relationship of the Modern Art Museum to the “Fort Worth School,” also referred to as the “Fort Worth Circle” before feigning shock at what you would have your readers believe to be an unprecedented display of a “Fort Worthian”‘s art at the Modern. A brief overview can be found here: whereas a more complete historical account
    is here:

    I will admit that in recent history, there has been a lack of Fort Worth art displayed in the Modern, but, you must admit as an art critic and journalist, that in recent history there hasn’t really been a lot of Fort Worth art at the aesthetic level of Vernon Fisher or Dickson Reeder (both of whom, along with Bill Bomar, Cynthia Brants, Kelly Fearing, and Bror Utter have works frequently on display as part of the Modern’s permanent collection). Perhaps you should redirect your lamentation toward the relative dearth of local artists producing work at a level of quality that deserves recognition in the Modern, a museum on par with the best in the world. The Modern does a great job of encouraging global awareness to the art world by exposing Fort Worth to ideas beyond the scope of any other comparable city while concurrently providing valuable service to the local community at large through education programs and , yes, engagement with local artists.