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A film about artist Vernon Fisher by Michael Flanagan
Breaking the Code is a biographical documentary film about the life of Fort Worth-based artist Vernon Fisher. Fisher has mounted major exhibitions at museums including the Smithsonian Institution, Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, among many others. He is the only Dallas-Fort Worth born artist to receive a retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth – a space that has also hosted exhibitions for artists including Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.
More important than Fisher’s accomplishments, however, is the content of his art. Not only is he such a masterfully technical painter that viewers often mistake his chalkboard style paintings as actually being made with chalk, but he is also renowned for the emotional, psychological, and philosophical depth of his work.
Throughout his career, Fisher was also an influential art professor at the University of North Texas. A former student, Jeff Elrod, is one of the most successful contemporary artists working today. Elrod describes his time with Fisher as “life changing.” Another former student, Baseera Khan, won the 2023 MTV reality show, The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist. Both artists are featured in Breaking the Code.
The film also features MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Dave Hickey, and the acclaimed art historian, Frances Colpitt, in two of the final interviews recorded before their respective deaths in 2021 and 2022.
Breaking the Code introduces Vernon Fisher to a new generation while also giving the many who already know his work an intimate look at the life of one of the most important artists of the 20th century.
© 2023 Fort Worth Key Magazine.