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The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), on behalf of the McKnight Foundation and co-presented by the Minneapolis Institute of Art, is pleased to announce the McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series, featuring the 2016 McKnight Visual Artist Fellows in conversation with four nationally-renown art curators and critics.

The McKnight Visual Artist Fellowships program is a highly competitive fellowship that identifies talented Minnesota visual artists whose work is of exceptional artistic merit and who are at a career stage that is beyond emerging. The fellowship program supports established artists by providing significant financial assistance, by creating opportunities to meet with local and national art professionals, by organizing a McKnight Discussion Series featuring the fellows and invited critics, and by working with the fellows to create an individualized professional development plan.

The fellowship program spans two years. During the first year, the eight fellows invite six nationally recognized critics into their studios for in-depth conversations on their work. In the second year of the program, the fellows ask four critics back to the Twin Cities for a public panel discussion. The discussion series pairs one critic with two McKnight Visual Artist Fellows and offers the audience an opportunity to learn more about the fellowship recipients as well as how their work intersects with broader contemporary art ideas and concerns.

For more information about the McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series, please contact Kerry Morgan, director of gallery and exhibition programs at MCAD, at 612.874.3667 or gallery@mcad.edu.

Discussion Series

The discussion series is held at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in their Pillsbury Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Events are free and open to the public but tickets are required. Reserve tickets in advance at ticket.artsmia.org.

Friday, February 16, 2018: Christian Viveros-Fauné, independent critic and curator, in conversation with Leah Edelman-Brier and Monica Haller

Friday, March 23, 2018: Andria Hickey, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, in conversation with Pao Houa Her and Caroline Kent

Friday, April 6, 2018: Jamillah James, curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in conversation with Tia-Simone Gardner and Jay Heikes

Friday, June 1, 2018: Hrag Vartanian, critic, curator, editor and co-founder of Hyperallergic, in conversation with Erik Benson and Julie Buffalohead

About the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to visual arts education, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is home to more than 800 students and offers professional certificates, bachelor offinearts and bachelor of science degrees, and graduate degrees.

About the McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for present and future generations through grant-making, coalition-building and the encouragement of strategic policy reform. Founded in 1953 and independently endowed by William and Maude McKnight, the Minnesota-based foundation had assets of approximately $2.2 billion and granted about $88 million in 2014.

About the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Home to more than 90,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) inspires wonder, spurs creativity, and nourishes the imagination. With extraordinary exhibitions and one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country—Rembrandt to van Gogh, Monet to Matisse, Asian to African—Mia links the past to the present, enables global conversations, and offers an exceptional setting for inspiration.

McKnight Visual Artists Discussion Series, February 16

What: Christian Viveros-Fauné in conversation with Leah Edelman-Brier and Monica Haller

Who: Free and open to the public

When: Friday, February 16, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Pillsbury Auditorium, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

Tickets: ticket.artsmia.org

Christian Viveros-Fauné is a New York-based writer and curator. He was awarded Creative Capital/ Warhol Foundation Grant in 2010, was named critic in residence at the Bronx Museum in 2011, and has been a lecturer at Yale University, Pratt University and Holland’s Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Currently, he writes criticism for The Village Voice, ArtReview and Sotheby´s. He is also at work on Social Forms: Art & Politics from Goya to the Present, to be published by David Zwirner Books in October 2018.

Leah Edelman-Brier is a visual artist primarily using the medium of photography. She received her BFA from Rhode Island College and holds an MFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University. Her work questions the female experience through allegory, family, autonomy, historical and pop culture references.

Monica Haller works with a wide variety of media in order to reflect on what is below the surface of the shared “natural” and social landscapes that she inhabits. Haller has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Jerome Foundation among others. She is the assistant professor of photography and moving image at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She exhibits and works internationally.

McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series, March 23

What: Andria Hickey in conversation with Pao Houa Her and Caroline Kent

Who: Free and open to the public

When: Friday, March 23, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Pillsbury Auditorium, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

Tickets: ticket.artsmia.org

Andria Hickey is a senior curator at Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. She previously served as curator for the Public Art Fund, where she organized outdoor installations by leading contemporary artists including Danh Vō, Hank Willis Thomas, and Oscar Tuazon. Prior to that, Hickey was a curator at Art in General, a curatorial assistant for contemporary art at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and a curatorial fellow in visual arts at the Walker Art Center. She completed her MA in art history at Concordia University in Montreal, and her writing has been published in a wide variety of journals and exhibition catalogues.

Pao Houa Her’s photographic practice deals with ideas of desire within her Hmong community.

Caroline Kent is a visual artist whose practice is a constant pursuit of concretizing an abstract language that speaks beyond the corridor of a traditional painting practice to engage subjects related to the moving image as well as the written word.

McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series, April 6

What: Jamillah James in conversation with Tia-Simone Gardner and Jay Heikes

Who: Free and open to the public

When: Friday, April 6, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Pillsbury Auditorium, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

Tickets: ticket.artsmia.org

Jamillah James is a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Previously, she was the assistant curator at the Hammer Museum Los Angeles, and organized exhibitions and programs for Art + Practice in Leimert Park. In Los Angeles, James has organized the first solo institutional presentations of artists Abigail DeVille, Sarah Cain, Simone Leigh, Alex Da Corte, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Charles Gaines. James has held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, and has independently organized exhibitions, performances, and screenings throughout the US and Canada since 2004.

Tia-Simone Gardner is a cross-disciplinary artist whose practice engages Black feminism through a dialogue with ritual, iconoclasm, and geography. Gardner graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a BA in Studio Art and minor in Art History and received her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She was recently awarded a grant from the Visual Arts Fund/Andy Warhol Foundation for her audio archive project The Black Power Station (2018). Gardner is a Birmingham, Alabama native.

Jay Heikes is known for his heterogeneous practice, which mixes and reinterprets a kaleidoscopic array of media—activating stories, puns, and irony in a cyclical meditation referencing the philosophical tradition of alchemy. Heikes received his MFA in Sculpture in 2005 from Yale University and is currently working on an exhibition for the Matrix program at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

McKnight Visual Artist Discussion Series, June 1

What: Hrag Vartanian in conversation with Erik Benson and Julie Buffalohead.

Who: Free and open to the public

When: Friday, June 1, 6:30 p.m.

Where: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Pillsbury Auditorium, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

Tickets: ticket.artsmia.org

Hrag Vartanian is a critic, curator, editor-in-chief and, co-founder of Hyperallergic, a publication he created in 2009 in response to the changes in the art world, publishing, and the distribution of information. He has curated projects, exhibitions, and has organized public events since 1997. Highlights of his curatorial efforts include exhibitions at Storefront Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and #theSocialGraph at Outpost, the world’s first multi-disciplinary exhibition of social media-related art in 2010. Vartanian writes and lectures about contemporary art, performance, multiculturalism, politics, the internet, literature, and visual culture. His curatorial interests are focused on theories and practices of decolonization and he prefers to work in unorthodox spaces.

Erik Benson is an artist whose process-based paintings are informed by architecture and everyday objects found in the urban landscape. He received a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MFA from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design, and studied at the Skowhegan School Painting and Sculpture. He has had solo and group shows throughout the United States and Europe and is the recipient of a NYFA painting fellowship as well as a participant in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program.

Julie Buffalohead is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma whose work focuses thematically on describing a cultural experience, an Indian experience, through a personal language. Her iconography draws upon a cast of characters from Native stories, such as raven, coyote, and deer. Buffalohead has been awarded numerous grants and participated in many group and solo exhibitions regionally and nationally. She received her BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and her MFA from Cornell University. Buffalohead lives and works in St. Paul.