“…The body in art becomes a mechanism for questioning our place in the world, our identities, our roles, and our relationships to others. On some level, all of the objects in A Secret Affair can be loosely categorized as meditations on the most primal and basic emotional need in life: that of human connection.”
The FLAG Art Foundation presents A Secret Affair: Selections from the Fuhrman Family Collection, an exhibition of works from the collection of Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, on view February 21-May 16, 2015, on the 9th and 10th floors. Artists include: Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Maurizio Cattelan, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Subodh Gupta, David Hammons, Jim Hodges, Anish Kapoor, Jim Lambie, Ron Mueck, Juan Muñoz, Marc Quinn, Charles Ray, Thomas Schütte, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Kiki Smith, and Gillian Wearing.
The title of the exhibition, A Secret Affair, was inspired by Jim Lambie’s keyhole sculpture Secret Affair (Gold), 2007, and serves as a metaphor for the passion of collecting and the intimate relationship between the art object and its beholder. Consisting primarily of sculpture, the exhibition revolves around the figure, the close connection between two individuals, and absence.
Artworks by 19 participating artists are at times playful and poignant, including: Jim Hodges’s eerily captivating pink crystal skull, divided in two, forming a (broken) heart; Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s poetic light strands and touching brass rings; Louise Bourgeois’s hand-sewn couple merged at the belly; Ron Mueck’s miniature yet monumental spooning couple; Juan Muñoz‘s wall-mounted men sharing a hearty laugh at each other’s expense; Katharina Fritsch’s fantastical octopus embodying fear, control, and helplessness; Yinka Shonibare MBE’s headless ballerinas concealing revolvers behind their colorful skirts; and Maurizio Cattelan’s slyly humorous pair of inverted police officers, which take on a new resonance in the wake of recent violence and protest.
The primal need to connect, with ourselves or others, and the volatile nature of intimacy, complicated by protection and imprisonment, tenderness and aggression, isolation and togetherness, are themes explored throughout the artworks in A Secret Affair.
A Secret Affair is curated by The Contemporary Austin’s Executive Director Louis Grachos with Manager of Special Projects, Director’s Office, Danielle Nieciag. This exhibition originated at the museum from May 3–August 24, 2014 (click here for more information). Accompanying the exhibition is a fully illustrated catalogue featuring a foreword from Louis Grachos and the essay “The Subversive Body” by Senior Curator Heather Pesanti.
Louis Grachos has been the Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director at The Contemporary Austin since 2013, and is known for his groundbreaking curatorial work and arts administration. Previously, Grachos served as Director of Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY, from 2003-2012. Grachos has held curatorial and administrative positions at the Americas Society Visual Arts Program, New York; the Queens Museum of Art, NY; the Center for Fine Arts, Miami; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and SITE Santa Fe. A passionate advocate for the arts, Grachos has more than thirty years of experience in the museum field supporting contemporary art. He is committed to community collaborations, with a focus on arts education and outreach programming, and consistently strives to create an artist centric institutional culture.
 Pesanti, Heather. “The Subversive Body,” in A Secret Affair: Selections from the Fuhrman Family Collection–Exhibition Catalogue, The Contemporary Austin, 2014, 6.