Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Flora

Resnick Pavilion
January 20–April 7, 2019
Image: Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Flora, 2017

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler’s Flora is based on their discoveries about the unknown American artist Flora Mayo, with whom the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti had a love affair in Paris in the 1920s. While Giacometti is one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, Mayo’s oeuvre has been destroyed and her biography was previously relegated as a footnote in Giacometti scholarship.

Hubbard / Birchler reframe this history and bring Mayo’s compelling biography to life through a feminist perspective that interweaves reconstruction, reenactment, and documentary into a hybrid form of storytelling. As a double-sided film installation, each side of Flora reveals a different story while sharing the same soundtrack. The work is conceived as a conversation between Mayo and her son, David—whom the artists discovered after an exhaustive search, living near Los Angeles. Flora generates a multifaceted dialogue—between a mother and son, Mayo and Giacometti, Paris and Los Angeles, and past and present.

Also on view is the accompanying work, Bustinspired by a photograph showing Mayo and Giacometti flanking a portrait bust she made of him. Bust comprises a photographic reproduction and reconstruction of Mayo’s no-longer-extant sculpture.

Flora and Bust premiered at the Swiss Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. LACMA’s presentation marks its United States debut.

This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Generous support provided by Sue Tsao. Additional support provided by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Aviva and Carl Covitz.

Swiss Arts Council Logo

All exhibitions at LACMA are underwritten by the LACMA Exhibition Fund. Major annual support is provided by Kitzia and Richard Goodman and Meredith and David Kaplan, with generous annual funding from Jerry and Kathleen Grundhofer, the Judy and Bernard Briskin Family Foundation, Louise and Brad Edgerton, Edgerton Foundation, Emily and Teddy Greenspan, Marilyn B. and Calvin B. Gross, Mary and Daniel James, David Lloyd and Kimberly Steward, David Schwartz Foundation, Inc., Andy Song, Lenore and Richard Wayne, and The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation.

Image: Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, Flora, 2017, synchronized double-sided film installation with shared soundtrack, 30 min, loop, courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York / Los Angeles, Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Collection Suzanne Deal Booth, © Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, photo: Ugo Carmeni