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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

salt 4: Xaviera Simmons Opens in New UMFA Permanent Space for Modern and Contemporary Art (SLC: Nov 18 - Feb 27)

--Shelbey Lang, UMFA Public Relations and Marketing Associate, shelbey.lang@umfa.utah.edu, 801-585-1306
--Jill Dawsey, UMFA Chief Curator, jill.dawsey@umfa.utah.edu, 801-585-3475

salt 4: Xaviera Simmons
Opens in New UMFA Permanent Space for Modern and Contemporary Art

Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) is pleased to present salt 4: Xaviera Simmons, the fourth project in the Museum’s series of exhibitions showcasing innovative art from around the world. salt aims to reflect the international impact of contemporary art today, forging local connections to the global, and bringing new and diverse artwork to the city that shares the program’s name. 

Organized by UMFA chief curator Jill Dawsey, the fourth salt installation opens on November 18, 2011 and will remain on view through February 27, 2012 in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah. The exhibition will be located in a newly designated salt gallery on the UMFA’s second floor and will accompany the debut of an adjacent permanent space for the museum’s growing modern and contemporary art collection.

Featured artist Xaviera Simmons will travel from New York City to Salt Lake City to install the artworks in salt 4: Xaviera Simmons. The exhibition will include a series of large-format photographs and an intricate sculptural wall installation made on site using locally-sourced wood. 

Simmons uses photography, installation, video, audio and performance to construct open-ended narratives inspired by collective histories and mythologies. Her work often references traditions of landscape as found in painting, photography, and film, emphasizing the characters that inhabit these spaces. In her large-format photographs, the landscape is often the central character, harboring the stories of travelers, migrants, and gypsies.

A highlight of salt 4: Xaviera Simmons will be the sculptural installation on the west wall of the new salt gallery. In the week leading up to the exhibition opening, Simmons will hand paint and letter hundreds of found wooden pieces in the museum’s Great Hall during public hours. She will individually inscribe each of them with text and symbols gleaned from multiple sources, including film dialogues, travel notes, folklore, news articles, and poetry. The painted wooden parts will then be affixed directly to the salt gallery wall on the second floor, forming a new kind of lyrical landscape imbued with historical and personal memory.

Xaviera Simmons was born in New York City and currently lives and works in New York and Paris. She received a BFA in photography from Bard College in 2004 after spending two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist monks. She completed the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art (2005) while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with The Maggie Flanigan Studio (2006). Major exhibitions and performances have taken place at The Museum of Modern Art (2010 and 2011); The Studio Museum In Harlem (five exhibitions from 2004-2010); The Nasher Museum Of Art at Duke University (2010); The Sculpture Center, New York (2009); and The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2008). Simmons is a recipient of The David Driskell Prize, a Jerome Foundation Travel/Study Fellowship, and an Art Matters Fellowship among many others. Simmons is one of three 2011-2012 Artists In Residence at The Studio Museum In Harlem and she will travel to Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2012 as part of The U.S Department of State’s smART Power Initiative.

The UMFA’s salt series affirms the Museum’s commitment to the art of today and tomorrow, demonstrating that contemporary art is vital, dynamic, and socially relevant.

Visiting Artist Talk: A Conversation with Artist Xaviera Simmons
7 p.m. on Friday, November 18, 2011 
Join UMFA chief curator Jill Dawsey for a conversation with salt 4 artist, Xaviera Simmons. Learn about Simmons’s artistic practice and philosophy in this free public program on opening night.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is located on the University of Utah campus in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building at 410 Campus Center Drive. The UMFA’s mission is to engage visitors in discovering meaningful connections with the artistic expressions of the world’s cultures. General admission is $7 adults, $5 youth and seniors, FREE for U of U students/staff/faculty, UMFA members, and children under six years old. Free admission offered the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. Museum hours are Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Weekends, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Mondays and holidays.  For more information call (801) 581-7332 or visit www.umfa.utah.edu

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