The work of composer John Luther Adams is deeply rooted in his experience of the Alaskan landscape. He writes a wide variety of music, orchestral and electronic, for ensembles large and small. Most recently, he has explored site-specific works, including The Place Where You Go to Listen, a sound and light installation derived from seismic and electromagnetic data, shown at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Adams is now working on installations and compositions based on data from weather stations around the world. He has received numerous international commissions and fellowships, including a residency at the Scripps Institute at the University of California, San Diego. Adams completed graduate work in music composition at Georgia State University.
Los Angeles, CA
Tanya Aguiñiga is a furniture designer whose work is informed by the complex interactions between Tijuana and San Diego, the cities in which she has spent most of her life. While studying design at San Diego State University, she began working as an educator at the San Diego Museum of Art and created collaborative installations with the Border Arts Workshop, an artists’ group that engaged the languages of activism and community-based public art. After earning an MFA in furniture design from Rhode Island School of Design in 2005, Aguiñiga settled in Los Angeles. Her sensitivity to materials and interest in creating furniture that responds to the user’s spatial needs have resulted in a playful and organic modernist approach to form. She hopes to deepen her commitment to ethical design by working with traditional artisans, connecting local craft traditions with a global economy.
Laylah Ali explores the way people relate to one another through the lenses of race, power, and politics. She is best known for her meticulously drawn but cartoon like allegorical figures that engage in what often turn out to be violent confrontations. In addition to these usually small-scale drawings, Ali has explored these themes in billboards and publications and even in a performance created in collaboration with a choreographer. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, Australia; the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York and holds an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. She currently teaches at Williams College in Massachusetts.
Sandra Benitez was raised in Mexico, El Salvador, and Missouri, and has lived in Minnesota since the 1970s. Her books reflect her bicultural Latin American and Midwestern background, focusing on the lives of characters such as Salvadoran maids, coffee pickers, and struggling American farmers and on events such as the civil war in El Salvador. She began writing at the age of 39 and published her first book, A Place the Sea Remembers, 13 years later. Including that work, she has written four books of fiction and one autobiography. Her first book of nonfiction, Memoir, was awarded a National Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature. Benitez lectures at universities and has been awarded many honors, including a Bush Foundation Fellowship and two Loft-McKnight Awards.
New York, NY
Anne Bogart is the artistic director of SITI Company, an ensemble-based theater that she cofounded in 1992. With SITI, Bogart has created new work, trained many young theatrical artists, and nurtured international and interdisciplinary collaborations. She is known for her unflagging dedication to experimentation, her intellectual and aesthetic rigor, and a commitment to high production values. She has directed works such as Hotel Cassiopeia, Intimations for Saxophone, Death and the Ploughman, the Los Angeles Opera production of Nicolas and Alexandra, Score, and bobrauschenbergamerica, among many others. Bogart is the recipient of the Distinguished Career Award from the South East Theater Conference, the American Theatre Wing Award, the Kellogg Arts and Letters Award given by Bard College for achievement in the field of theater, two Obie Awards, and one Bessie Award. She is also a professor at Columbia University, where she teaches graduate directing.
Los Angeles, CA
Mark Bradford is primarily a painter but also makes videos. His practice is equally informed by his years as a hairdresser in South Los Angeles, his rigorous training in art theory, and the study of painting at California Institute for the Arts. Bradford’s work incorporates materials from the urban landscape into compositions that are defining new directions in abstract painting. He has received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, the Nancy Graves Foundation Grant, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award. His work has been included in Consider This . . . at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the São Paolo Bienal; the Busan Biennial in South Korea, inSite in San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico; the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art; and the 2006 Whitney Biennial, for which he received the Bucksbaum Award in recognition of the quality and importance of his work.
Dancer and choreographer Ronald K. Brown founded the dance company Evidence in New York in 1985. Brown’s work incorporates modern dance, Senegalese Sabar and other West African movement vocabularies, Afro-Caribbean dance, and contemporary urban dance from around the world. He has choreographed numerous works for his own company, as well as for Philadanco, Alvin Ailey, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Maimouna Keita West African Dance Company, and many others. Brown has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Bessie, a Black Theater Alliance Award, and an Audelco Award for the choreography of Regina Taylor’s musical Crowns. Brown plans to travel to conduct further research and to complete a new work, One Shot, based on the photographs of Charles Teenie Harris (1908–1998), who chronicled African American life in Pittsburgh as the photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the oldest black newspapers in the country.
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, into a family of mariachi musicians, Natividad Cano is recognized by many as one of the masters of his genre. He came to Los Angeles in 1957 as a member of Mariachi Chapala when it was one of two mariachi ensembles in the city. In 1961 he founded Los Camperos, a mariachi group, which is still in existence. He toured with the group for eight years and finally opened the restaurant La Fonda as a financially viable way to perform while staying at home; this restaurant, which he still owns, is a Los Angeles institution. Los Camperos has recorded 10 albums and was nominated for a Grammy for its most recent effort, Llegaron Los Camperos/The Camperos Have Arrived. Cano is almost single-handedly responsible for the wide reach of mariachi music in the United States and has done much to preserve, perpetuate, and innovate in this genre of music over his 50-year career. He received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990.
Nick Cave began his career as a performer and fashion designer, creating fantastic, almost ritualistic costumes for dance and performances. More recently, he has been presenting these costumes as sculptural objects. These works, which he calls Sound Suits, are textured, sensual, elaborately designed assemblages of sometimes unexpected materials that act almost like musical instruments, emitting sound as they move. He has produced 40 of these pieces, which he describes as “full body suits constructed of materials that rattle with movement . . . like a coat of armor, [they] embellish the body while protecting the wearer from outside culture.” Cave has received the Joyce Award (2006), the Richard Dreihaus Foundation Individual Artist Award (2006), Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001), and several grants from Creative Capital. He is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
New York, NY
Ping Chong is a theater artist and pioneer of Asian American theater who has created more than 50 performances since 1972, all geared toward communication with multicultural audiences. He has received numerous awards, including an Obie for sustained achievement. His Undesirable Elements series of poetic and theatrical documentary pieces was created in collaboration with local community members in many cities across the United States and abroad. These performances explore issues of immigration, identity, and otherness in the lives of individuals living between cultures. Other notable works by Chong includeCathay: Three Tales of China, Blind Ness: The Irresistible Light of Encounter, and Children of War. He has also exhibited artwork in a solo show called Testimonial II at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, and his work was included in the Venice Biennale in 1995. Chong holds honorary doctorates from Kent State University and Cornish College.