Steve Hash, whose career has taken off since his debut show in 2018, will be in residence through Jan. 12 at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. Up until three years ago Steve Hash was creative director for Warner Music Group. His job included overseeing merchandise, product development, album covers and videos. It was creative work, but it wasn’t enough. “There was still something missing,” he said Friday from his home in Los Angeles. “I wasn’t making the work that was really my work. I was working with other people helping to realize their vision.” He quit his job to start making his own art.
He was met with success almost at once. The debut show of his sculptural work in 2018 at Hilde Gallery in Los Angeles was a critic’s pick review in Artforum magazine. His 2019 show dialoguing with works by Andy Warhol at Chase Contemporary in New York was featured in Forbes Magazine. He’s shown at Art Miami, where his exhibit was a Director’s Choice. His work is collected by contemporary art collector and West Palm Beach resident Beth Rudin DeWoody. Starting Sunday, he will become the first artist in residence at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. He’ll be working in the late Ann Norton’s studio through Jan. 12.
Hash, who is 37, is married to Ally Hilfiger, daughter of fashion mogul and entrepreneur Tommy Hilfiger. He grew up poor in an isolated fundamentalist Christian community in the De Soto National Forest in southern Mississippi. His upbringing had a profound effect on his art. “I grew up in the woods disconnected from society,” he said. “I realized that the thing I’ve wanted my whole life had to do with connecting with other humans.” He uses common materials, such as concrete and concrete-infused terry cloth towels, and familiar shapes, such as water jugs, beer cans and cigarette packs, to build white shroud-like figures and totems. The ghost-like figures have no race, gender or class. “It’s about the connected human condition we all share,” he said.
His commonplace materials serve a similar purpose. “Concrete is something most humans deal with on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s a material we all connect with and don’t really consider.” Hash connected with the Ann Norton through the organization’s partnership with the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary art fair, which opens Thursday and continues through Jan. 12 in a temporary pavilion at 825 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. Works by artists Jim Rennert and Federico Uribe also are on view at the Ann Norton through a collaboration with fair exhibitor Adelson Cavalier Galleries of Palm Beach. The Ann Norton has wanted to start an artist in residence program for some time, said Palm Beach resident Sally Soter, co-chairwoman of the organization’s art committee.
Hash’s rapid rise in the art world indicates that he’s at “the top of his game,” she said. Part of founder Ann Norton’s “mission was to have other artists use her space, just as she did, for inspiration and creation of art,” said David Miller, co-chairman of the art committee. Plans call for continuing the residencies. During his residency, Hash plans to develop ideas for a solo show scheduled to open in July in Salzburg, Austria. Finished works by Hash will be displayed at the Ann Norton and the fair. “I’m excited about being in the studio and being around all her work, which is quite beautiful,” he said. Visitors to the Ann Norton will be able to watch him work. On Wednesday evening, he will attend a reception, along with Rennert and Uribe, at the Ann Norton.
He’s most excited about interacting with students from Title 1 elementary schools as part of the Ann Norton’s Art & Healthy Hearts program. “Because I grew up isolated, I like to encourage younger artists to look beyond their woods and think differently,” he said. His trajectory shows what can happen when they do. Hash will be in residence Sunday through Jan. 12 at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, 253 Barcelona Road, West Palm Beach.
By Jan Sjostrom
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