Interracial desire, same-sex love, and racial and sexual bigotry are recurrent themes in Nayland Blake’s sculptures, drawings, performances, and videos, which reflect his preoccupation with his own racial and sexual identities. Blake explores ideas about whiteness and blackness, not only as they relate to race, but as skin itself and how that skin determines one’s identity. Blake, whose mother is white and father is black, work has often dealt with role-playing (puppets and theatricality and sado-masochism) and asks questions about the search for identity and the notion of passing for something you are not. The exaggerated role-playing and costumes of sado-masochism and drag are for Blake another type of “skin.” The bunny is a recurring theme for Blake as he expands on the rabbit and hare’s traditional portrayal as symbols of lust and fecundity. Blake’s “rabbit” has evolved into the artist’s iconographic surrogate for gay men (playing off the stereotype of the promiscuous gay man) as well as a threshold figure for black/white and male/female. Many works incorporate bunny suits that the the artist constructs for himself, such as, Starting Over (2000) is a video projection that depicts Blake wearing a bunny suit lined with weights that match his boyfriend’s total body weight and feverishly tap dancing–the weights affecting each movement, sometimes moving in tandem with Blake’s body and sometimes imposing constraints.
Blake has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and his work has been included in the Whitney Biennial and Venice Biennale. Survey exhibitions of his work have been presented by the Center for Art and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland in College Park, Tang Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs and Location One in New York. He has had solo exhibitions at institutions such as Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco, Henry Art Gallery at University of Washington in Seattle, Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, and Berkeley Art Museum at the University of California. HIs works have been included in group exhibitions at Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, New Museum in New York, Institute of Contemporary Photography in New York, Artists Space in New York, Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Tate Liverpool, and Center for Contemporary Art at Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, among many other venues.
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Nancy Lupo (b. 1983, Flagstaff, AZ, lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) received a BFA from The Cooper Union and a MFA from Yale University School of Art. She attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013 and is a 2015 recipient of a Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant. Recent exhibitions include Old Zoo Food, LAXART, Los Angeles (2014) and Taster’s Choice – curated by Christopher Y. Lew, MoMA PS1 (2014). Her work is currently included in A New Rhythm, Park View, Los Angeles and Apple of Earth, High Art, Paris. She will have a solo presentation in the Art Statements section of Art Basel in June. This is her first one-person exhibition at Wallspace.
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Alex Da Corte was born in Camden, N.J., in 1980 and currently lives and works in Philadelphia. He received his BFA from the University of the Arts and his MFA from Yale University in 2010.
Da Corte has recently mounted solo shows and presentations at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Carl Kostyal, Stockholm; David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen; Artspeak, Vancouver; Mother’s Tankstation, Dublin; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Maine; and Nudashank, Baltimore. His work has been shown at MoMA PS1, the Museum of Modern Art and the deCordova Museum, and he has participated extensively in gallery and non-profit exhibitions in the US and internationally. In 2012, Da Corte was named a Pew Fellow in the Arts by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Philadelphia.
Matthew Barney was born in San Francisco in 1967 and raised in Boise, Idaho. He attended Yale University, receiving his BA in 1989, then moved to New York City, where he lives today. From his earliest work, Barney has explored the transcendence of physical limitations in a multimedia art practice that incorporates feature-length films, video installations, sculpture, photography, and drawing.
In 2002 Barney completed the CREMASTER Cycle, a five-part film begun in 1994. The Cycle, along with related sculptures, photographs, and drawings, was the subject of a 2002 retrospective organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and traveling to Museum Ludwig, Cologne and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. His ongoing series DRAWING RESTRAINT has been the subject of exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Serpentine Gallery, London; Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan. Barney’s most recent project is RIVER OF FUNDAMENT, an operatic film made with composer Jonathan Bepler. A solo exhibition of related sculptures, drawings and storyboards, opened at Haus der Kunst Munich, 2014; traveled to the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania in November of that year; and is now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles through January of next year.
Barney has received numerous awards including the Aperto prize at the 1993 Venice Biennale; the Hugo Boss Award in 1996; the 2007 Kaiser Ring Award in Goslar, Germany and the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Persistence of Vision Award in 2011.
Dana Schutz was born in 1976 in Livonia, Michigan. She received her BFA at the Cleveland Institute Art and her MFA at Columbia University in 2002. Schutz’s fictive subjects have ranged from people who can eat themselves, a gravity fanatic, imaginary births and deaths, and public/private performers. She has been the subject of museum exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Most recently, a survey exhibition of her work at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal opened on October 17, 2015. Her solo museum shows include, The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire; kestnergesellschaft, Hannover; The Neuberger Museum, Purchase; Miami Art Museum, Miami; the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy, The Rose Museum, Massachusetts, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas. Dana Schutz lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She is represented by Petzel Gallery in New York and Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin.
Zackary Drucker is an independent artist, cultural producer, and trans woman who breaks down the way we think about gender, sexuality, and seeing. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial 2014, MOMA PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, among others. She is a Co-Producer on Transparent.
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Michael Bühler-Rose’s received his BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and his MFA from the University of Florida, Gainesville (2008). He is an Instructor at both the Rhode Island School of Design and at Cooper Union, as well as a purohita (Hindu priest), and his work on these platforms influence his artistic production. His study and practice of Vaishnavism, Sanskrit, kalpa (ritual), and philosophy over the last 20 years have prompted extended stays in India, including one as a Fulbright Fellow. In his photographs, videos and installations he explores the relationship between the art object and the artist as a parallel to a venerated deity and a priest, and aesthetic experience as ultimately religious. Bühler-Rose has exhibited work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge; Witte De With, Rotterdam, and the Everson Museum, Syracuse.
Since the early 1990s, Mark Dion has examined the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, the artist creates works that address distinctions between objective scientific methods and subjective influences. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.
Born in Massachusetts in 1961, Dion currently lives in New York City. He received a BFA and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford School of Art, Connecticut in 1986 and 2003, respectively. He also studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1982-84, and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program from 1984-85. He has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucida Art Award (2008).
Watch the Art21 on Mark here.
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Jon Kessler was born in Yonkers, New York in 1957. After receiving his BFA at SUNY Purchase in 1980 he participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program. Since that time he has maintained his studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
His first exhibition was at Artist’s Space in 1983. Since that time he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Asia. A retrospective of his work ”Jon Kessler’s Asia” was mounted at the Kestner-Gesselshaft in Hannover, Germany in 1994 and traveled throughout Europe. His exhibition, “The Palace at 4 AM”, began at MoMA PS1 in 2005 and travelled to the Sammlung Falckenberg in Hamburg, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen and ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. His recent exhibition “The Web” at Swiss Institute and Museum Tinguely explored the connection between bodily movement and technical apparatus, deploying mechanisms, live video and an iPhone app to facilitate this relationship.
His works are in many public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and MOCA. He is a Professor in the Visual Arts Division of Columbia University’s School of the Arts where he has taught since 1994. He plays guitar in several art rock bands.
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Sanford Biggers interdisciplinary artistic practice integrates film/video, installation, sculpture, painting, original music and performance. He intentionally complicate issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity, high vs vernacular culture, American history and art history through the use of loaded materials and references and evocative modes of display. His work opens viewers to new perspectives and associations to established symbols and histories while remaining dedicated to formal concerns. Sanford makes objects, images and sound oriented “vignettes” that strive to be as aesthetically engaging as they are conceptual.
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