Jeffrey Grove curated Jim Hodges' four-venue, national traveling survey, which debuted at the Dallas Museum of Art, October 2013. Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
Does Jeffrey Grove have the most unerring eye in Texas? The Dallas Museum of Art’s man at the top of the contemporary curatorial pyramid — officially senior curator of special projects & research — is envied for his ambitious, confident and serenely choreographed installations. What makes the DMA’s chief talent scout tick? Executive editor art + features Catherine D. Anspon uncovers an (unlikely) fascination with Currier & Ives, a taste for 60s-era TV comedy and discovers Isa Genzken. Portrait Shayna Fontana.
EARLIEST ENCOUNTER WITH THE VISUAL WORLD.
Staring at the Currier & Ives print on the living room wall as a toddler.
FIRST PIECE OF ART THAT MADE AN IMPACT?
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
WHAT WOULD TRAVEL FROM ANYWHERE TO SEE?
Heironymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights [1500 – 1505].
THREE ARTISTS WORKING TODAY THAT ARE THE MOST UNDERKNOWN?
That’s a trade secret.
ANY PLANS TO SHOW THEM AND/OR ACQUIRE THEM FOR THE DMA?
Maybe we already have …
THREE HISTORICAL ARTISTS THAT NEED TO BE RESUSCITATED FROM THE DUST BIN OF ART HISTORY?
Alfred Leslie, Konrad Lueg, Ger van Elk.
ARE YOU ADDING ANY TO THE DMA COLLECTION?
YOU’VE PIONEERED NEW COLLECTING FIELDS FOR THE MUSEUM INCLUDING POST-WAR JAPAN AND POST-WAR ITALY. WHAT AREAS/ARTISTS/MOVEMENTS ARE NEXT ON YOUR RADAR?
We’ve been paying a lot of attention to emerging, post-conceptual photographers.
ON YOUR CURATORIAL PLATE.
Currently, “Isa Genzken: Retrospective,” of which I am co-curator, was on view at MoMA, NY, before traveling to the MCA, Chicago and the Dallas Museum of Art [September 14 – January 4]. Last February, the exhibition I organized that premiered at the DMA in October  — “Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take” — opened at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, before traveling to the ICA, Boston and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles [October 5 – January 17]. The mid-career survey of Belgian artist Michaël Borremans —“As sweet as it gets,” which I organized — opens at BOZAR, Brussels, before traveling to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the DMA [March 15 – July 5, 2015].
BEST MUSEUM FOR A PILGRIMAGE?
Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland.
MOST MEMORABLE STUDIO VISIT?
There have been so many, but most recently was when Isa Genzken and I spent a long afternoon talking about her work and she revealed things to me that she’d never talked about before.
YOUR KARLA BLACK U.S. MUSEUM DEBUT IN THE FALL OF 2012 WAS POETIC, FRESH AND EYE-OPENING. AND LAST FALL’S RETROSPECTIVE FOR JIM HODGES BALANCED THE ETHEREAL WITH THE CONCEPTUAL. HOW DID THE SHOWS COME ABOUT?
Karla happened quickly: I’d been entranced by her work for some time and finally decided to make the pilgrimage to Glasgow to see her. We hit it off. Eight months later the exhibition opened. Jim and I had known each other for over a decade and we worked together on that exhibition for four years.
Everyone hangs art higher than they should.
WISDOM FOR A BEGINNING COLLECTOR.
Buy art because you love it, not because you consider it a growth asset.
NEXT STAMP ON YOUR PASSPORT?
GO TO SPOT TO BE “UNDER THE RADAR.”
Half Price Books and Mi Cocina.
IN YOUR OFFICE.
A small painting by a kid who graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago last year.
ON VIEW AT YOUR CASA.
Small drawings and multiples by obscure artists.
ON WHY YOU’RE IN TEXAS.
There is so much opportunity here. As with many things in Texas, great style, unbridled passion and a can-do spirit prevail.