Sharon Hayes (American, born 1970)

The Nature of the Beast, (detail) 2019

Five-color plate lithograph on Somerset Satin White paper

Five parts. Paper size 17 x 20 inches each; image size 12 x 16 inches each; border size 2 inches top, left, and right, and 3 inches bottom.

Published by the Brodsky Center at PAFA, Philadelphia. Collaborating Master Printer: Peter Haarz. Photo: LeAnne Matlach.

Since the early 1990s, artist Sharon Hayes has employed performance, film, sound, and text to explore notions of agency and reception in political and activist speech. Through reenacted events, the artist exploits anachronism as a lens to reinterpret recent historical events that are still powerfully determining the present. Her work is of profound inspiration to younger generations of artists that are tackling similar themes, made even more urgent by cultural shifts and political events of this decade, in the United States and globally.

Hayes' approach is structuralist and her project at the Brodsky Center at PAFA, entitled The Nature of the Beast, embraces the historical relationship of printmaking to communication strategies. It is based on the artist's transcript of a practice session between Bella Abzug (1920-1998)-the New York Congresswoman who was appointed to head the 1977 National Women's Conference-and her vocal coach, aimed at adjusting Abzug's regional accent and softening her tone to alter her voice into a more universal and soothing voice. The portfolio edition comprises five, five-color plate lithographs that intersect photo-based printmaking processes with an analogue video of the script transferred to digital, produced by Hayes in 2014. They transliterate, as Hayes states, the blue screen of a computer monitor from the 1980s, with shimmering lettering from the script.

Hayes was born in Baltimore and has been living and working in Philadelphia since 2016. She has exhibited at Tanya Leighton Gallery (Berlin), the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid). Her work has been featured in Documenta 12 (Kassel, 2007), the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and the Guggenheim Museum (New York), among many others institutions. The exhibition Sharon Hayes: Echo currently at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (April 13-August 8, 2019), features this edition. The first extensive monograph on Hayes' work was published by Phaidon Press in December 2018.



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