San Francisco, CA
Over the last three decades, artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson has been internationally acclaimed for her pioneering use of new technologies and her investigations of issues that are now recognized as key to the working of our society: identity in a time of consumerism, privacy in a era of surveillance, interfacing of humans and machines, and the relationship between real and virtual worlds. In December 2014 a major retrospective of her work titled CiviC RadaR will open at the ZKM (Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe Germany. In 2011 Lynn Hershman Leeson released the ground-breaking documentary Women Art Revolution. Forty-two years in the making, W.A.R. charts the history of the Feminist Art Movement in America from the 1960s to the present and deftly illuminates how this underexplored movement radically transformed the art and culture of our times. Making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010, the film is distributed by Zeitgeist Films and has since been screened at major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Migros Museum, Zurich; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. In 2012, a survey of her work was presented at Kunsthalle Bremen, and she was featured in “A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance” at the Tate Modern London.
Hershman Leeson’s work is also part of the touring ICI exhibition State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970, curated by Constance Lewallen and Karen Moss; and was featured at the Museum of Modern Art recently in XL: 19 New Acquisitions in Photography. It is also part of public collections of at the William Lehmbruck Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Canada, Walker Art Center, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester and the University Art Museum, Berkeley, in addition to the celebrated private collections of Donald Hess and Arturo Schwarz, among many others. Recently honored with grants from the Tides Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation, she is also the recipient of a Siemens International Media Arts Award, the Flintridge Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, Prix Ars Electronica, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and SIGGRAPH Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2010 the Digital Art Museum in Berlin recognized her work with the d.velop digital art award (d.daa), the most distinguished honor for lifetime achievement in the field of new media. In 2004 Hershman Leeson’s working archive was acquired by Stanford University Libraries. Hershman Leeson was recently recognized by The New School in New York as a Dorothy H. Hirshon Director in Residence, for the 2013-14 academic year in the School of Media Studies. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis and was previously Chair of the Film Department at San Francisco Art Institute.
Somebody told me I would die before I BE something,
Most likely to fry before I Free something,
Most likely to sigh before I See something.
I’m not the one that’s gonna tell you how you should feel,
You may not know my pain but you understand how the sutures feel,
Because when it rains you understand how a roof would feel.
I was born in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. I was my mother’s third child at the age of 21. Being raised in the 80’s in Philadelphia I was exposed to prevalent drug use and gang activity. The crack epidemic left half of the houses in my neighborhood abandoned. This neighborhood gave very little hope for a future outside of its boundaries. My parents were the first generation of my family to raise their children in the United States.
In an effort to seek the best job he could, my father would drive his bike from Kensington to Cherry Hill, New Jersey every morning. When I sit at a potter’s wheel, I often think of my father’s bike tire spinning, and this metaphor has always had me reach for more. If he could make that sacrifice for my future, it is up to me to make something of it.
Ernie Marsh has been a Bit & Spur maker and silversmith for the last 26 years. Born in 1962 in Mt. View California, his interest in horses, the American west and the cowboy lifestyle goes back to his early childhood. He pursued every opportunity to be able to ride and work with horses doing all forms of jobs to earn that experience. His other interests included art, pencil drawing and wood sculpture. It was taking a job as a working ranch cowboy that sparked his interest in the fancy tools of the cowboy trade, the silver bits and spurs. His hardworking background includes ranching, rodeo competition, and timber falling. He has pursued his artwork since 1990 with the same required intensity and desire to learn, master skills and improve his pieces. In 1998 he had the honor of being selected as a founding member of The Traditional Cowboy Arts Association. Since then he has exhibited his work annually at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Ok., this has lead to opportunities to teach others through seminars and classes as well as one on one mentorships at his own shop in Wyoming.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The work of Beatriz Santiago Muñoz arises out of long periods of observation and documentation, in which the camera is present as an object with social implications and as an instrument mediating aesthetic thought. Her films frequently start out through research into specific social structures, individuals or events, which she transforms into performance and moving image. Santiago Muñoz’s recent work has been concerned with post-military land, Haitian poetics, and feminist speculative fictions. Recent exhibitions include: Song, Strategy, Sign at the New Museum, A Universe of Fragile Mirrors at the Pérez Art Museum of Miami, MATRULLA, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, México City; Under the Same Sun, Guggenheim Museum of Art; Post-Military Cinema, Glasgow International; The Black Cave, Gasworks, London. Her work is included in public and private collections such as the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, Kadist and the Bronx Museum. She is also co-founder of Beta-Local, an arts organization in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Colorado Springs, CO
Born in Chicago, bred in Los Angeles, living at points in New York City and briefly Japan, Nengudi resides in Colorado. She has always been active in arts education in the communities in which she has lived. Nengudi’s disciplines include sculpture, installations and performance. There is continuing interest in her late ‘70s Nylon Mesh “RSVP” (Panty Hose) series. First exhibited at Linda Goode-Bryant’s legendary Just Above Midtown Gallery, this series mimics in abstract the sensuality and elasticity of the body and psyche, reflecting the toll that inside and outside pressures have on our mortal selves.
Recipient of the Women’s Caucus For Art-Lifetime Achievement Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and an Art Matters grant, she has received an honorary degree from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, and is in the permanent collections of the Tate, London, Centre Pompidou, the Museum of Modern Art – NYC, Brooklyn Art Museum – Brooklyn, NY, Carnegie Museum of Art – Pittsburgh, PA, the Hammer Museum – Los Angeles, CA, Museum of Contemporary Art – Los Angeles, CA and Studio Museum in Harlem – NY. Nengudi is represented by the Thomas Erben Gallery and Dominique Levy Gallery.
New York, NY
Shirin Neshat is an Iranian-born artist and filmmaker living in New York. Neshat’s early photographic works include the Women of Allah series (1993–1997), which explored the question of gender in relation to Islamic fundamentalism and militancy. Her subsequent video works departed from overtly political content or critique in favor of more poetic imagery and narratives. In 2009, Neshat directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director in the 66th Venice International Film Festival. Neshat’s recent photographic series include The Book of Kings (2012), Our House Is on Fire (2013), and The Home of My Eyes (2015). Neshat has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums internationally, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Serpentine Gallery, London; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; and the Detroit Institute of Arts. A major exhibition of her work recently opened at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Shirin was included in the 48th Venice Biennale of Art (1999), Whitney Biennial (2000), and Documenta XI (2002). Neshat is currently working on her second feature-length film, based on the life and art of the legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum.
East Charleston, VT
Steve Paxton has researched the fiction of cultured dance and the ‘truth’ of improvisation for 55 years. He lives on a farm, and he has received grants from Change, Inc., E.A.T., the Foundation for Performance Arts, John D. Rockefeller Fund, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been awarded two NY Bessie Awards, and is a contributing editor to Contact Quarterly Dance Journal. He was one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater, Grand Union, Contact Improvisation, Touchdown Dance for the visually disabled (UK), and began his career studying modern dance techniques, ballet, Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, and Vipassana meditation. He performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. from 1961-65. He lectures, performs, choreographs and teaches primarily in the USA and Europe. In 2008, he published a DVD with ContreDanse in Brussels, ‘Material for the Spine’. In 2013 he was featured in Tanz I’m August, Berlin, Germany; and ‘Night Stand’ was performed in NYC at Dia:Chelsea. In 2014, his work ‘Bound’, with jurij Konjar, was presented in Ljubljiana, Venice, Munich. In June 2014, he received the Venice Biennale Leone d’Oro for life-time achievement in dance.
‘Quicksand’, an opera by Robert Ashley, premiered in January, 2015 at the Kitchen, NYC, and Festival D’autumne in 2016, featuring choreography by Paxton. ‘Bound’ was at Festival D’autumne in Paris, ADI, in Maryland, and at REDCAT in Los Angeles.
Jefferson Pinder’s work provokes commentary about race and struggle. Focusing primarily with neon, found objects, and video, Pinder investigates identity through the most dynamic circumstances and materials. Through his meditative exploration with light and sound or his intensely grueling corporeal performances, he delves into conversations about race. His exploration of sound, music and physical performance are conceptual threads to examine history, cultural appropriation, and portrayals of exertion and labor. Creating collaged audio clips and surreal performances he under score themes dealing with Afro-Futurism and endurance.
His work has been featured in numerous group and solo shows including exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, Showroom Mama in Rotterdam, Netherlands, The Phillips Collection, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. At present, Pinder is preparing for the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, and has just finished a sculptural installation at the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. Pinder resides in Chicago where he is a Professor in the Sculpture department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
New York, NY
Yvonne Rainer, one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater (1962), made a transition to filmmaking following a fifteen-year career as a choreographer/dancer (1960-1975). After making seven experimental feature-length films — “Lives of Performers” (1972), “Privilege” (1990), and “MURDER and murder” (1996), among others — she returned to dance in 2000 via a commission from the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation (“After Many a Summer Dies the Swan”). Since then she has made six dances, including “AG Indexical, with a little help from H.M.,” “Assisted Living: Do you have any money?” and “The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project – Altered Annually.”
Her dances and films have been seen throughout the U.S., including the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Kitchen, Dia Beacon; in Europe and South America at the Louvre and Montpelier, also Documenta 12, Helsinki, Italy, Dublin; London, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Museum retrospectives of her work, including drawings, photos, films, notebooks, and memorabilia, have been presented at Kunsthaus Bregenz and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2012); the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, École des Beaux Artes, La Ferme du Buisson, Paris, and Raven Row, London (2014). A memoir — “Feelings Are Facts: a Life” — was published by MIT Press in 2006. A selection of her poetry was published in 2011 by Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited. Other writings have been collected in “Work: 1961-73” (1974); “The Films of Y.R.” (1989); and “A Woman Who…: Essays, Interviews, Scripts” (1999).
She is a recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and a MacArthur Fellowship.
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. For Citizen, Rankine won the Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (Citizen was also nominated in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives in New York City and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.