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"Everything you can imagine is real."
- Pablo Picasso

"Art is art-as-art. Everything else is everything else."
- Ad Reinhardt

Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation
Selections from the Hadley Martin Fisher Collection

Co-Curacted by Kimberly Marrero
The Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida

Tampa Museum of Art Exhibits Contemporary Conceptual Art
From The Hadley Martin Fisher Collection In Its Summer Exhibition

Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation Scheduled to Open July 9, 2011

(June 1, 2011, Tampa, FL.) – Beginning July 9, 2011 and on view through September 25, 2011, the Tampa Museum of Art will present Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation, Selections from the Hadley Martin Fisher Collection. This exhibition examines the engagement that a current generation of artists has with the written word, symbolism, modes of communication and is drawn from one of the most exciting private collections in the nation.

The 20th century began with the inclusion of written text within the collages of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. As the century progressed, text remained an important presence within the art world. With the appearance of Pop Art, textual references reappeared in staggering fashion. Conceptual art, with all of its challenges to the nature of the art object, relied heavily on text as a vehicle to express its desire to rupture and overturn accepted forms of expression. By the 1990s and early 2000s, artists began to reposition text and symbolic matter into new formats and to increasingly expanding ends. In addition to the experiments within the art world, reassessments continued in the philosophical and linguistic discourse about what constitutes meaning within textual references.

In Syntax: Text and Symbols for a New Generation, the Tampa Museum of Art has chosen an important theme that is central to the Hadley Martin Fisher (HMF) Collection: text-based work created by a new generation of conceptual artists. This exhibition highlights several key early works in the text-based genre within the HMF Collection (by artists such as John Baldessari, Mel Bochner and Joseph Kosuth) against a wide array of younger artists who revisit the importance of word, symbolism, communication and information transference. Together, these artists show that text-based art is a vital and vibrant presence. More than 30 artists are featured in this exhibition, including Fiona Banner, Nathalie Djurberg, Tracey Emin, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Gober, Sean Landers, Christian Marclay, Seth Price and Jason Rhoades.

According to museum Executive Director Todd D. Smith, “Syntax marks the first time that the HMF Collection has been shown in such depth and demonstrates the collector’s belief that in his new home, Florida, thought-provoking contemporary visual art plays a key role in defining the cultural conversation. The Tampa Museum of Art is pleased to have the opportunity to curate from this important collection an exhibition that explores the significant theme of text-based art of the last 20 years.”

About Hadley Martin Fisher
Budding collector Hadley Martin Fisher, it has been said, “has art collecting in his genes.” Mr. Fisher’s passion for art and collecting can be attributed to his interaction with the collection of iconic modern masterworks that his grandmother, Emily Fisher Landau, assembled over the last four decades. Her longstanding contributions to the artistic and philanthropic worlds are evident in her grandson's efforts today. 

Hadley Fisher’s commitment to the bridging of arts and education was further inspired by the life of his late brother, Andrew Fisher, a young art student destined for a promising artistic career. Launched in 2007, the Hadley Martin Fisher Collection is an ever-advancing compilation of contemporary and emerging artists that firmly supports Umberto Eco’s belief that “every cultural phenomenon can be studied as communication." The Collection seeks to understand the changing nature of text, symbolism and means of communication in art of our time.

Based in Miami, Hadley Martin Fisher is involved in real estate and development with his family’s business, Fisher Brothers Corporation. He serves on the board of the Fisher Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and the Film and Photography Acquisitions Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Mr. Fisher has recently become engaged with the philanthropic community in Miami with his support of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Lotus House Women’s Shelter. Fisher holds a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University. Along with a passion for science and art collecting, he pursues his love for the theatre by devoting much of his spare time to studying literature, poetry, and plays as well as various forms and methods of acting.

Read the full press release here.

View Exhibition Checklist here.