January 30th, 2017

Frances Stark at Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Agonizing yet Blissful Frances Stark (American, born in 1967) 2001. Ink and collage on paper. 14 x 11 in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm). *Image courtesy of Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne. *Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Artist: Frances Stark

Venue: Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Exhibition Title: UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991–2015

Date: September 17, 2016 – January 29, 2017

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Frances Stark at Museum of Fine Arts

Pull After "Push" Frances Stark (American, born in 1967) 2010 Mixed media on canvas on panel. 69 x 89 in. (175.3 x 226.1 cm). *Collection Nancy and Joachim Bechtle. *Image courtesy of greengrassi, London, photo by Robert Wedemeyer. *Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Full gallery of images, press release, video and link available after the jump.


Frances Stark, My Best Thing, 2011, Digital video with sound, 1 hr 39 mins 16 secs


Frances Stark, Bobby Jesus’s Alma mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or paying Attention is Free, 2013, Multichannel projection with sound, inkjet mural, and takeaway posters, 7 mins 20 secs



Images courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Videos courtesy of the artist.

Press Release:

The most comprehensive survey to date of Los Angeles-based artist and writer Frances Stark (born 1967), “UH-OH” tracks her 25-year career from early carbon copy drawings and text-based works to more recent video installations, digital slide shows, and projects that shape fleeting engagements with social media into art. Featuring more than 100 works, “UH-OH” provides an in-depth exploration of Stark’s singular artistic practice and voice, as she shares her knowledge of cultural topics high and low, including dissections of art history, the Internet, and her creative contemporaries.

Autobiography is Stark’s primary mode of expression. From self-examination—sustained meditation on what she’s reading, making, consuming, doing—come her reflections on literature, music, architecture, art, sex, domesticity, labor, pleasure, pedagogy, and class. Her works are layered with meanings and references that viewers can appreciate on many levels, from persistent visual motifs, to repetitive phrases and titles, to obscure citations, allusions, and puns. Rather than being a traditional chronological survey, “UH-OH” is designed to aid viewers in their own close reading of Stark’s work by highlighting recurrent jokes, rhymes, metaphors, and cultural references. With words and images at the heart of her practice, and moving between analog and digital modes of assemblage, Stark has been heralded by the Los Angeles Times as “the visual poet laureate of the Internet age.”

Highlights of the exhibition include Stark’s pre-YouTube Cat Videos (1999–2002); the playful, provocative and psychedelic “chorus girl” collages from the series A Torment of Follies (2008); My Best Thing (2011), a video that debuted at the 2011 Venice Biennale edited from Stark’s cyber exchanges with two online paramours; the celebrated video installation Bobby Jesus’s Alma Mater b/w Reading the Book of David and/or Paying Attention Is Free (2013), set to a West Coast gangsta rap soundtrack and featuring images that range from Renaissance paintings, to family snapshots, to portraits of hip hop legends. The exhibition’s title, “UH-OH,” contrasts the usual lengthy or pithy titles of Stark’s works with a simple response to a complicated problem. This familiar and percussive utterance demonstrates our instinctive awareness of a difficulty, and inspires us to look deeper, think harder, and listen more carefully.

Link: Frances Stark at Museum of Fine Arts Boston

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