University of Michigan Museum of Art

For the 2017 Biennial, Rafa Esparza built a rotunda out of adobe bricks made by hand from a combination of clay, horse dung, hay, and water from the Los Angeles River. Esparza’s gesture is a kind of mimicking of American colonization, but in reverse: while historically colonization progressed from east to west, imposing European structures on the land in the process, here Esparza has transformed land from Los Angeles into bricks and transported them to New York. The artist considers the dynamics involved in the labor of making the bricks an important part of the work. For previous projects, he worked alongside his father, who is trained in traditional adobe-making techniques. Here, however, Esparza worked with a group of Brown, queer-identified individuals—Rooster Cabrera, Maria Garcia, and Zena Zendejas—deepening a sense of community that also finds itself reflected in the generosity of the final installation: Esparza invited a number of artists to contribute works to the installation while keeping in mind the possibilities of this particular space, which holds none of the history of social and racial exclusions of a traditional museum gallery.

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Born 1969 in Providence, RI
Lives in Brooklyn, NYFor the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Susan Cianciolo revisits her 2001 Run Restaurant by presenting it within the Museum’s own eatery, Untitled. An immersive event for the senses, Cianciolo transforms the restaurant into her vision of a communal space. New tapestries and linens, custom uniforms for the wait staff, drawings and collages, performances, and a new multicourse dinner developed in collaboration with Untitled executive chef Michael Anthony will be featured. An artist, filmmaker, and fashion designer, Cianciolo has been an influential cultural figure since the 1990s. After closing her clothing label, Run, Cianciolo first presented Run Restaurant at Alleged Gallery, which was across the street from what would become the site of the Whitney’s new building. RUN RESTAURANT UNTITLED is the most complete version of the artist’s restaurant projects to date. Cianciolo invites us to a unique, highly stylized dining experience with shared food, drink, music, and performance.


Metropolitan Museum of Art - Wikipedia

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Born May 30, 1915, in Havana, Cuba, Carmen Herrera was educated in Havana and Paris, studying art, art history, and architecture. In 1939 she married an American, Jesse Loewenthal, and moved to New York City, where she attended classes at the Art Students League and was a frequent visitor to the Whitney Museum of American Art. From 1948 to 1953, Herrera and Loewenthal lived in Paris, where she became associated with an international group of artists, the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. Herrera exhibited her work with them regularly and developed a distilled, geometric style of abstraction, reducing her palette to three colors for each composition, then further to two. Herrera’s hard-edged canvases emerged at the same time that Ellsworth Kelly, whose time in France overlapped with Herrera’s, began producing his own abstractions and around the same time that Frank Stella began producing his famous black paintings.

Herrera’s ascetic compositions, which prefigured the development of Minimalism by almost a decade, did not find a warm reception when she returned to New York in 1954, a time when Abstract Expressionism still reigned supreme. As both a woman and an immigrant, Herrera faced significant discrimination in the art world; yet she persisted, and continued to paint for the next six decades, only rarely exhibiting her work publicly. Today, at the age of 101, Herrera continues to work almost every day in her studio, and her oeuvre demonstrates a disciplined but highly sophisticated exploration of color and form. As she once stated, "I believe that I will always be in awe of the straight line, its beauty is what keeps me painting." Since the late 1990s Herrera has garnered increasing attention for her work, selling her first painting in 2004. The last significant museum presentation of Herrera's work in this country was a 2005 show at Miami Art Central, which was preceded only by a 1998 show of her black and white paintings at El Museo del Barrio and a 1985 show at The Alternative Museum, both in New York. Her first monographic presentation in Europe was held at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England, in 2009, which then traveled to Museum Pfalzgalerie, Kaiserslautern, Germany. In the last decade, the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and Tate Modern have all acquired works by the artist.


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Frances Stark’s recent series on view in the Biennial borrows from the incendiary writing of punk musician, cult figure, and author Ian F. Svenonius. Stark hand-painted page-spreads from the title essay in his 2015 book Censorship Now!! In the essay, Svenonius contends that the battle for artistic freedom of speech has been “won” at the cost of art’s irrelevance and powerlessness, suggesting that this supposed liberty only makes artists both more complicit in, and more vulnerable to, militaristic and capitalistic oppression. Artists, he proposes, should take control of censorship in order to eliminate everything from bland nonsense to mass-produced pop to expressions of fascist ideology. Svenonius’s tone is extreme, but Stark leaves it to us to determine his intent. She painted the text on a monumental scale, indicating a high level of commitment to his radical position, especially the ideas in passages she has underlined.

Akron Art Museum Akron, Ohio Deadline for fall applications: July 15

Born 1967 in Newport Beach, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CAFrances Stark’s recent series on view in the Biennial borrows from the incendiary writing of punk musician, cult figure, and author Ian F. Svenonius. Stark hand-painted page-spreads from the title essay in his 2015 book Censorship Now!! In the essay, Svenonius contends that the battle for artistic freedom of speech has been “won” at the cost of art’s irrelevance and powerlessness, suggesting that this supposed liberty only makes artists both more complicit in, and more vulnerable to, militaristic and capitalistic oppression. Artists, he proposes, should take control of censorship in order to eliminate everything from bland nonsense to mass-produced pop to expressions of fascist ideology. Svenonius’s tone is extreme, but Stark leaves it to us to determine his intent. She painted the text on a monumental scale, indicating a high level of commitment to his radical position, especially the ideas in passages she has underlined.