Visual Arts

Wangechi Mutu

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-born, New York based Artist and Activist whose work contains a form of personal poetic cultural criticism that engages the complexities of the daily issues, current affairs, and diverse environments that affect not only all humans, but more specifically the disempowered. Her inventive and meticulous use of materials matched with the elegant and perhaps horrific figures are found lurking in worlds filled with hybrids. Composites themselves, they’re entrapped between consciousness and dreamscapes, silences and cacophony, seemingly alive, though somewhere beyond the memory of death; still real and yet not. These characters are avatars that reveal their inherent vulnerability in spite of their dynamic potency, which comes from a malleability the Artist has made of them. The figures are, after-all, regenerated and intervene with reality to find and address the unfairness of this planet’s realities. 

Wangechi Mutu is the recipient of the United States Artist Grant (2014), the Brooklyn Museum’s Artist of the Year Award (2013), and was honored as Deutsche Bank’s first Artist of the Year (2010). She has exhibited at major institutions including recent one-person shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Staatlichen Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Germany; Wiels Contemporary Art Center, Brussels; the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina; the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, Illinois; and Miami Art Museum.  

Luis Camnitzer

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer was raised in Uruguay and has lived in New York since 1964. Camnitzer works primarily in printmaking, sculpture, and installation, producing bitingly humorous works with a focus on language and socio-political concerns as in Memorial (2009), in which he inserted the names of the “disappeared” in Uruguay during the dictatorship into the telephone book. Camnitzer is also a critic and curator, known for his work on expanding the canon of conceptual art to include Latin American artists.

 Insults, from Barely There, 2009; photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit

Insults, from Barely There, 2009; photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit

Coco Fusco

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Coco Fusco creates performances and videos about intercultural relations. Fusco is best known for her performance The Couple in the Cage (1993), in which she and artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña posed as Amerindians on display at various museums. The piece mocked the ethnographic treatment of indigenous people and served as a satirical commentary on the concurrent quincentenary celebrations of Columbus’s discovery of America. In a more recent work, A Room of One’s Own (2006), she explores military torture and gender, playing an interrogator training women recruits. Fusco is also a writer and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design.La Plaza Vacia (video still), 2012; photo credit Coco Fusco

 La Plaza Vacia (video still), 2012; photo credit Coco Fusco

La Plaza Vacia (video still), 2012; photo credit Coco Fusco

Coco Fusco

Posted January 16, 2015

Brooklyn, NY


Coco Fusco creates performances and videos about intercultural relations. Fusco is best known for her performance The Couple in the Cage (1993), in which she and artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña posed as Amerindians on display at various museums. The piece mocked the ethnographic treatment of indigenous people and served as a satirical commentary on the concurrent quincentenary celebrations of Columbus’s discovery of America. In a more recent work, A Room of One’s Own (2006), she explores military torture and gender, playing an interrogator training women recruits. Fusco is also a writer and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design.La Plaza Vacia (video still), 2012; photo credit Coco Fusco

 La Plaza Vacia (video still), 2012; photo credit Coco Fusco

La Plaza Vacia (video still), 2012; photo credit Coco Fusco

Theaster Gates

Posted January 16, 2015

Chicago, IL


Theaster Gates employs urban planning, sculpture, and social practice in performances, installations, and urban interventions. In his expansive artistic practice, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, converted abandoned buildings into cultural spaces, and created sculptures. In The Dorchester Project (2009), Gates restored a building in Chicago to house a 14,000-volume library from an art and architecture bookstore as well as a collection of glass slides from the University of Chicago Art History Department, all of which are available to the local community. Gates is the Director of Arts and Public Life and Resident Artist at the University of Chicago.

 Raising Goliath, 2012; photo credit Ben Westoby

Raising Goliath, 2012; photo credit Ben Westoby

David Hartt

Posted January 16, 2015

Chicago, IL


David Hartt creates primarily photo-based works that often appear in installations. He says his works “serve as intimate portraits of dreams and ideals that have not failed as much as been subtly displaced or altered.” His recent project, Stray Light (2011), includes a video and photographs taken at the Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago, producer of Ebony and Jet magazines and the leading arbiter of African American taste during the latter half of the twentieth century. Hartt records the original 1971 interiors, and the images serve as documents of African American cultural history.

 Stray Light, 2011; photo credit Nathan Keay and MCA Chicago

Stray Light, 2011; photo credit Nathan Keay and MCA Chicago

Edgar Heap of Birds

Posted January 16, 2015

Oklahoma City, OK


Edgar Heap of Birds works in multidisciplinary forms that include public art, large-scale drawing, paintings, and prints. He first came to prominence in 1982 with In Our Language, a work on the computerized billboard in New York’s Times Square, which melded English and the Cheyenne language to create phrases that referred to the colonization of Manhattan. He is also known for his series of Native Hosts signs, which announce the names of the local indigenous tribes in sites as varied as Vancouver, Utah, New York City, and the Virgin Islands.

Bin Laden U.S. Code Name Geronimo, from the Dead Indian Stories, 2011; photo credit Edgar Heap of Birds

William Leavitt

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA


William Leavitt, an influential figure in the Los Angeles art scene, is known for a varied practice that includes performance, tableaux, paintings, photographs, and works on paper. Leavitt, who moved to Los Angeles in 1965, looks at the popular culture and modernist architecture of the city to create works that suggest narrattives and what he calls, “the theater of the ordinary.” His works reflect the particular fusion of illusion and reality of Hollywood. Leavitt was honored with a critically acclaimed retrospective exhibition of his work at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in 2011.

 Warp Engines, 2009; photo credit Kelly Barrie

Warp Engines, 2009; photo credit Kelly Barrie

Alison Saar

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA


Renowned artist Alison Saar creates sculptures and installations that explore issues of race, gender, and spirituality. In her work, Saar uses the figure as a catalyst for engagement and employs materials from Africa, the African diaspora, and other non-Western cultures where accumulation and fetishization are central. Saar has more recently created installations that call for viewer participation, as in Displacement Recollection Exchange and Archive of Mobile (2012), which references the histories of displacement of the city and the current anti-immigrant laws of Alabama.

 50 Proof, 2012; photo credit Chris Warner

50 Proof, 2012; photo credit Chris Warner

Kerry Tribe

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA


Kerry Tribe creates primarily video and film installations that explore memory, subjectivity, perception, and doubt. Intensely researched and rigorously crafted, her works often combine documentary and fictional approaches and present objective testimonials as well as more personal elements. There Will Be ___________ (2012) is an experimental narrative film that recounts diverging versions of a famous double murder that occurred in 1929 at the historic Greystone Mansion in Los Angeles. Tribe assembled the dialogue from over 40 feature films that were subsequently shot on location at the historic home.

 There Will Be__, 2012; The Power Plant, Toronto, 2012; photo credit Toni Hafkenschied

There Will Be__, 2012; The Power Plant, Toronto, 2012; photo credit Toni Hafkenschied