2012/13 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists Recipients Announced

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design is pleased to announce the four recipients of the 2012/13 McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists: Jim Denomie from Shafer, Minnesota, and Chris Larson, Ruben Nusz, and Natasha Pestich from the Twin Cities.

Designed to identify and support outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists, the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists provide recipients with $25,000 stipends, public recognition, professional encouragement from national visiting critics, and a catalog and culminating exhibition at the MCAD Gallery in the spring of 2013. The fellowships are funded by a generous grant from the McKnight Foundation and administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

About the 2012/13 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Visual Artists recipients:

Jim Denomie is an imaginative storyteller who uses wit and humor in his paintings to comment on social, cultural, and political issues as he perceives them. Denomie graduated from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities with a BFA in 1995. Since then he has had more than ten solo shows at local and regional venues that include the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota; Iowa State University, in Ames, Iowa; and Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan. He has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, such as a Native American Fine Art Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, a Bush Foundation Artist Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Collaboration Grant, and a Jerome Study and Travel Grant.

Chris Larson is a multimedia artist whose work is rooted in sculpture. Using film, video, photography, performance, drawing, and painting, he animates object-filled architectural spaces that are always flawed or radically challenged. Larson received a BFA from Bethel College in 1990 and an MFA from Yale University in 1992. In addition to exhibiting throughout the United States, Larson has participated in group exhibitions in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, and he has had solo exhibitions in Switzerland and Germany. Larson has also received fellowships from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight, Jerome, and Bush foundations. He is currently an associate professor of art at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.

Ruben Nusz creates artificial limitations to foster potentially new and surprising outcomes. His most recent work involves creating trompe l’oeil frames that are visually called into question by subsequent paint applications that disrupt human perception. Since receiving his BFA Summa Cum Laude from the University of Minnesota in 2001, Nusz has been featured in solo shows at St. Cloud State University, Thomas Barry Fine Arts, Art of This Gallery, and the Rochester Art Center. In addition, he has participated in group exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, The Soap Factory and the Minnesota Museum of American Art among others. In addition to being an arts writer for mnartists.org, Nusz is the co-founder and editor of Location Books, an artist-run independent publisher with works in the permanent collections of institutions across the U.S. 

Natasha Pestich is a printmaker who cultivates both a studio and public practice that uses design and collective storytelling to influence how visitors engage with a given site. Pestich received a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal in 1998 and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 2000. She has exhibited widely, from a recent Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to national shows from coast to coast, and even internationally. Since 2011, she has been partnering with Pillsbury House + Theatre, leading a design process to engage community members with MCAD students and faculty to redesign the Pillsbury House lobby to reflect its new focus as a “Cultural Community Hub.”She has participated in several artist residency programs in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Chicago, and she has received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant. She is an associate professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

This year’s McKnight Visual Artist Fellows were chosen from a field of 209 applicants. The selections were made by a panel of three arts professionals: Terry Adkins, an interdisciplinary artist and professor of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania; Craig Anderson, an independent art curator who most recently served as the executive director of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Hunter Drohojowska-Philp, an art historian, journalist, and art critic from the Los Angeles area.


The MCAD Gallery will be featuring an exhibition of new work by the 2011/12 McKnight Visual Artist Fellows—Christine Baeumler, Liz Miller, Elizabeth Simonson, and Marcus Young—from July 13 to August 17, 2012. The opening reception will be held on Friday, July 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The artists will discuss their work and the fellowship year on Saturday, July 14, at 4:00 p.m., and Diane Mullin, curator at the Weisman Art Museum, will serve as moderator. All events are free and open to the public.