Public Event

Visiting Artist Program Upcoming Artists

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Date(s) - 04/20/2017
7:00 pm

Guyon Auditorium


The School of Art and Design and the Visiting Artist Program present a lecture by Visiting Artist Michelle Grabner. This will be held in the Guyon Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. on April 20th. This event is free and open to the public.

 Michelle Grabner is a painter and conceptual artist, writer, art critic, curator, gallery director, and professor of painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As an artist, she has exhibited nationally and internationally including solo exhibitions at James Cohen Gallery New York, Leo Koenig New York, Rocket London, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Her reviews and essays have been published in ArtForum, Frieze, and Modern Painters. She is also a Contributing Editor for Xtra and the co-editor with Mary Jane Jacob of The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists, published by the University Of Chicago Press. She has co-curated numerous exhibitions with Brad Killam including shows at: the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Diverse Works Houston, and Walker’s Point Center for the Arts Milwaukee. In 2014, she was co-curator along with Stuart Comer and Anthony Elms of the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney Biennial is generally regarded as the most important survey of contemporary art in the U.S, often setting or leading trends in contemporary art. Michelle has served as a Senior Critic at prestigious MFA programs across the country including Yale University, Bard College and the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1999, Michelle has run The Suburban, an independent artist exhibition space in Oak Park, Illinois. The Suburban has held small-scale exhibitions for over 160 artists including Wade Guyton, Luc Tuymans, Katharina Grosse, and Ceal Floyer. As an independent run, alternative gallery space, The Suburban has received international notoriety and publicity. Since 2009, Michelle has run a second alternative artist space called The Poor Farm in upstate Wisconsin. The Poor Farm facilitates and present artist’s projects and yearlong exhibitions at the former Waupaca County Poor Farm (built 1876) in Little Wolf, Wisconsin. Lastly, Michelle has been a Visiting Artist and given artist talks at universities across the country including American University Washington DC, CalArts, Hunger College, University of Michigan, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Yale University, VCU, and numerous others.

 Michelle Grabner occupies an anti-hierarchical position in the filed of art; one where artists, curators, gallerists, editors and critics are considered “players” in the same game. She represents a current theoretical approach to art in which the artist is not only considered a maker of artworks, but also a cultural operator; able to write, manage galleries, curate, collect, teach, etc. Michelle Grabner’s diverse career as a practitioner, writer, curator, organizer, critic and teacher of art would benefit SIU students in multiple ways. Her well-documented career is a great example of the ultimate art-world insider and outsider. She has built a successful resume of exhibitions, fostered the rise of two alternative galleries to international renown, served as head of one of the top graduate painting programs in the country, raised three children, and curated one of the most important art survey shows in the world, all based out of a Midwestern city.

 Grabner was named by Artnet to be one of the 100 most important women in the art world, along with performance art superstar Marina Abramovic and powerhouse art dealer Barbara Gladstone. As an example of a multi-tiered professional, hearing and seeing about Michelle’s career would benefit multiple tiers of students and on multiple levels. She would be able to broaden students awareness of an expanded art practice by sharing her experience surrounding the entire discourse of artistic activity: conception /creation / production / presentation / distribution / communication / promotion. This would allow students tracking in graduate or undergraduate disciplines to see the importance of broadening their fields of study and embracing a more liberal approach to their education and career goals. Students from studio art, design, art education and art history would benefit from exposure to Michelle’s visit to campus, and would be inspired to consider more dialogue and attentiveness to their course work in areas parallel to and outside of their main area focus. Students focused on making artworks would see the importance of good writing and good communication, to get involved outside of the studio, to be leaders in different organizations and get involved in entrepreneurial ventures.

 Students would benefit by seeing and hearing about an artist at the forefront of the field and one that works in a vast range of disciplines including paintings, sculpture, prints, works with paper, and installations. Her work itself takes on autobiographical concepts while remaining abstract in presentation. It revolves around the history of painting in relation to the present, the relationship of center to periphery, the significance of routine in life and in art, and the integration of work into family life and vice versa. Few artists can describe themselves in terms as versatile as those used by Michelle Grabner, and her visit to SIU as a visiting artist would be extremely beneficial to students as well as faculty and the community.