MFA Visiting Artist

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Special thanks to our media sponsor, Down East Magazine

Each summer, we invite visiting artists, curators, and scholars to participate in MFA curriculum. In addition to critiques and studio visits with students, Visiting Artists deliver a lecture that is free and open to the public. Lectures are held in Osher Hall and begin at 5:30pm. 

Ben Street | Art historian, museum educator, writer
June 18th, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Ben Street is a freelance art historian, museum educator, and writer who lectures on art old and new for a variety of London museums including the National Gallery, Tate, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Christie’s Education, Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the Royal Academy. His writing has been published in numerous catalogues for museums and galleries all over the world, and he is the author of interpretative materials for major exhibitions in the UK and beyond.
>>Read More

Adam Brown  | Conceptual artist
June 22nd, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Adam Brown is an internationally recognized conceptual artist whose work incorporates art and science hybrids including living and biological systems, robotics, molecular chemistry and emerging technologies that take the form of installation, interactive objects, video, performance and photography. Brown’s creative research is informed by a background in Intermedia, a philosophy that provides a framework for breaking down and combining different models of thought and bringing together disparate disciplines, leading to the establishment of new forms of research, collaboration and creative activity. 
>>Read More

Laura Larson | Photographer
June 29th, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Laura Larson is a photographer who mines the intersection between documentary and poetic practices and poses questions about the medium and its terms of representation: its materials, histories, and social meanings.  The desire to trust our eyes is a central concern of her work.  Larson has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally, including Art in General, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, SFCamerawork, Susanne Vielmetter/L.A. Projects, and Wexner Center for the Arts. Reviews of her exhibitions have appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time Out New York, and she has published artist projects in Cabinet, Documents, Open City and The Literary Review. She is the recipient of grants from Art Matters, Inc and the New York Foundation of the Arts, and of residency fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Ucross Foundation. Larson’s work is represented by Lennon, Weinberg Gallery in New York City.  She lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Athens, OH, where she teaches photography in the School of Art at Ohio University.
>>Read More


Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley | Video, Poetry, Animation, Performance, Painting
July 6th, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Mary Reid Kelley works in collaboration with her husband Patrick Kelley. Language, literature and history inform their work, which combines video, poetry, animation, performance, and painting that are filled with punning wordplay. Reid Kelley presents her take on the clash between utopian ideologies and the realities of women’s lives in the struggle for liberation and through political strife, wars, and other historical events.
>>Read More Mary Reid
>>Read More Patrick

Christopher Whittey | Artist, Professor, Arts Administrator
July 13th, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Christopher Whittey is an artist and arts educator/administrator whose work interrogates labor, working class issues, and relations of power in contemporary society.  Whittey is currently a professor of art and design, and Vice President of Faculty Affairs and Chief Academic Officer at the Cleveland Institute of Art.
>>Read More

Inka Essenhigh | Painter
July 20th, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Inka Essenhigh's paintings draw on an astute awareness of contemporary culture and her immediate environment. They are infused with a dreamlike, surreal sensibility - often directly related to a particular perception or the atmosphere of an encounter, individual or scene.  Her work is in the collections of major museums including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Denver Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Museum of Modern Art / P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; Tate, London; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
>>Read More

Chunghie Lee | Fiber artist and writer
July 27th, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Chunghie Lee is a fiber artist and writer whose study of Pojagi: Korean Traditional Wrapping Cloths, has inspired wall pieces, sculptures and wearable work. She lectures at RISD and abroad in universities Seoul, Korea including and Evtek Institute of Art & Design, Finland.  She has exhibited throughout Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Poland, France, Norway, Finland, Canada, Indonesia, England, Australia, Netherlands, and North America, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England; Portland Museum of Art, Oregon; American Museum of Art & Design, New York; Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard University, Massachusetts.
>>Read More

Robert Hobbs | Art Historian, Scholar, Teacher, Curator
August 3rd, 2015, 5:30pm Osher Hall

Art historian Dr. Robert Hobbs has held the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1991 and has been a visiting professor at Yale University since 2004. Hobbs is recognized as a scholar, teacher, and curator, Hobbs specializes in both late modern and post-modern art. His work joins social history with literary criticism and aesthetics; it also relies on feminist and postcolonial theory. He has published widely and has curated dozens of exhibitions, many of which have been shown at important institutions in the U.S. and abroad. 
>>Read More

Summer 2014

THURSDAY, JUNE 19  |  5:00pm


Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art



Jay Sanders is the Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He co-organized the Whitney Biennial 2012 and has curated innumerable exhibitions, concerts, and events over the past decade. He is a member of the collaborative performance group Grand Openings, and has staged large-scale events at MoMA, the Bumbershoot Festival (Seattle) and other venues. He has written extensively for ArtforumParkett, Texte zur Kunst (Texts About Art), Bomb, and other publications.  

MONDAY, JUNE 23  |  5:30pm


Collage and Installation






Michael Oatman calls his practice “the poetic interpretation of documents.” His collages and installations integrate thousands of found, modified, and handmade components, including artifacts of material culture, painting, drawing, video, and food. These architectural “unvironments” have been installed at museums, public spaces and private homes. His installations are “context-specific,” and demand from him a total immersion into physical location, sonic/haptic realms, local history and the personal stories of those he encounters while working. >> Read More

MONDAY, JUNE 30  | 5:30pm


Sculptural Installation



Abigail DeVille’s dark sculptural installations reflect themes of social repression, racial identity, and discrimination in the midst of urban decadence.  She warps the time of physical objects, and these objects speak to the infinite expanse of universal time and societal ills of the present moment.  In 2011, she received her MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art.  In 2013, her work was included in an exhibition of 21 artists who were shortlisted for The Future Generation Art Prize, an official collateral event of the Venice Biennale. >> Read More


MONDAY, JULY 7  |  5:30pm


Community Activist



Rick Lowe works both inside and outside of art world institutions by participating in exhibitions and developing community-based art projects. Among other projects, he has worked with artist Suzanne Lacy and curator Mary Jane Jacobs on the Borough Project for Spoleto Festival 2003; spearheaded Transforma Projects, a collaborative effort to engage artists and creativity in the rebuilding of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina; and developed “Small Business/Big Change” for the Anyang Public Art Program, in Anyang, Korea. President Obama appointed Rick to the National Council on the Arts in 2013.  >> Read More 


MONDAY, JULY 14  | 5:30pm




Exhibitions of Richard Renaldi's photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2006, Renaldi's first monograph, Figure and Ground, was published by Aperture. His second monograph, Fall River Boys, was released in 2009. Richard is the founder and publisher of Charles Lane Press, an independent publisher that showcases important new projects by contemporary photographers. Renaldi's forthcoming monograph, Touching Strangers, will be published by the Aperture Foundation in the spring of 2014.>> Read More

MONDAY, JULY 21  |  5:30pm






Lisa Sigal’s most recent work includes painting on walls and making forms that combine painting with architecture. Her work suggests a mutable delineation between interior and exterior and explores their meaning both socially and politically. Utilizing and expanding upon notions of space, she investigates how art can challenge set ideas about property, containment and freedom. She is curating a new program, Open Sessions at the Drawing Center in New York City and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. >> Read More



 MONDAY, JULY 28  |  5:30pm


Video, Performance and Installation



Sharon Hayes’ work moves between multiple mediums, including video, performance, and installation, in an ongoing investigation into the interrelation between history, politics, and speech. She employs conceptual and methodological approaches borrowed from practices such as performance, theater, dance, anthropology, and journalism. Her work has been shown at a multitude of museums, galleries and performance spaces, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern in London, and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, as well as in 45 lesbian living rooms across the United States. >> Read More


MONDAY, AUGUST 4  |  5:30pm


Curator of the Present Tense at Peabody Essex Museum, MA.







Summer 2013 







William Wegman is the author of numerous books for children, including New York Times bestseller Puppies. Working with his cast of Weimaraners, Wegman has created projects for Saturday Night Live, Nickelodeon, and Sesame Street, where his videos have appeared regularly since 1989. Wegman’s movie The Hardly Boys in Hardly Gold was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and with Jay Leno, David Letterman and, most recently, The Colbert Report. Wegman currently lives in New York and Maine. >> Read More




Writer, Producer, Filmmaker & Artist





Alix Lambert is a filmaker, author and artist living in New York City.  She was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for her work on the HBO drama Deadwood and was also an associate producer and staff writer for the HBO "surf noir" series John From Cincinnati.  Her feature-length documentary The Mark of Cain was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline.  In 2013 she will be the Kennedy Fellow Visiting Artist at the School of Art at the University of South Florida. >> Read More



Sculpture, Textile, &

Installation-Based Artist



Jim Drain is a Miami-based artist who creates hyperactive, chaotic art, fashion and furniture, using an abundance of materials from chains to yarn to costumes. He graduated from Rhode Island School of Design  and was involved in the highly influential Fort Thunder community in Rhode Island, and was also a former member of Forcefield, a performance art collective who collaborated on videos, comics, totems, experimental music, kinetic sculptures covered in textiles, and more. His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art. >> Read More




Installation, Video & Performance-Based Artist



Kate Gilmore's performance videos feature often feature herself as a female protagonist struggling to overcome a self-imposed obstacle.  Her live "Through the Claw" performance piece at The Pace Gallery in New York in 2011 featured five women in yellow flower print dresses tasked with dismantling a giant cube of clay.  Her themes of displacement, female identity, and the body's relationship to systems of power are reflected in her artful and occasionally absurd critiques of sex and gender.  >> Read More 




Curator at Yale University Art Gallery



Jennifer Gross is the Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Yale University Art Gallery. She recently organized a retrospective on the American artist Richard Artschwager at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Recent curatorial projects at the Yale University Art Gallery includeContinuous Present, showcasing the work of eleven contemporary artists, and the traveling exhibitionThe Société Anonyme: Modernism for America.  >> Read More



Sculpture, Drawing & 

Installation-Based Artist




Spencer Finch works in a variety of media, including watercolor, photography, glass, electronics, video and flourescent lights.  His light installations play with ideas of memory and perception and he is known for reconstructing the luminosity of locales through the use of a colorimeter to measure natural light at specific places and times.  His public projects include "The River that Flows Both Ways," a site-specific installation at New York's High Line public park in New York City, which features glass designed from photographic pixel points to create an effect of watery translucence linked to the river and the former rail line.>> Read More












Laylah Ali lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Her small, figurative gouache paintings take her many months to complete, as she meticulously plots out every aspect of her work in advance, from subject matter to choice of color and brushes. Her meticulous paintings resemble comic-book serials, but they also contain stylistic references to hieroglyphics and American folk-art traditions, producing a high level of emotional tension as a result of juxtaposing brightly colored scenes with dark, often violent subject matter that speaks of political resistance, social relationships, and betrayal. >> Read More




Painter, Printmaker &

Mixed Media Artist





William Villalongo redefines racial and sexual politics in his mixed media compositions that reference art history through the use of mythological and religious figures placed in a variety of African-American and American contexts. His work sparks conversations about the nature of art history, exoticism, and culture. Through appropriating iconic and mass culture imagery, he creates colorful narrative relationships "in which the cry of many voices melds the events of today into the mythologies of tomorrow." >> Read More 




2012 Lecture Series


Michael Kimmelman
Thursday, June 21
“From New York to Europe and Back Again”

Michael Kimmelman’s talk is an intimate and story-filled reflection on his path from The New York Times’s Chief Art Critic, trawling the world’s museums and galleries to Foreign Correspondent (based in Berlin), reinventing cultural reporting from Marseille to Gaza to Berlin and Istanbul, all of which prepared the way for his current post as Architecture Critic, writing about issues facing us at a time when society and cities are rapidly changing.

Beth Lipman
Monday, June 25
Beth Lipman lives and works in Sheboygan Falls, WI. She has exhibited her work widely and received numerous awards including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, and a Ruth Chenven Foundation Grant. Lipman has exhibited her work internationally at such institutions as the ICA at MECA, the RISD Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Radcliffe Bailey
Monday, July 2
Radcliffe Bailey creates his mixed media paintings by piecing together ancestral photographs, collected objects, and painted words and maps. Born in 1968 in New Jersey, Bailey now lives and works in Atlanta. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Atlanta College of Art in 1991. His work is permanently installed in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and in numerous permanent collections including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago.

Amze Emmons
Monday, July 9

Amze Emmons is one of the co-founders of He is an artist, illustrator, curator, living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Currently, he teaches art at Muhlenberg College in Allentown. Emmons and his partners at Printeresting are organizing a zine and small press exposition at Space Gallery from July 20 - August 23 featuring work from 60 talented artists, designers, and publishers from around the world.

Stanya Kahn
Monday, July 16
California-based Stanya Kahn is an interdisciplinary media artist. Working primarily in video, with a practice that includes performance, writing, and photography, Kahn's work inhabits a space between fiction and document, and stems from an extensive background in live performance. Kahn has worked in a collaborative team with artist Harry Dodge, and her work has shown in numerous venues nationally and internationally, including the Whitney Biennial, the California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art.

Francis Cape
Monday, July 23
Francis Cape was trained as a woodcarver before receiving his MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has exhibited his work extensively in the US, including shows at the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. Cape is represented by Murray Guy in New York City. He lives and works in Narrowsburg, NY.

Denise Markonish
Monday, July 30
Denise Markonish is the curator at MASS MoCA where she has curated the exhibitions of Nari Ward, Petah Coyne and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle. Markonish also co-edited with Susan Cross the book Sol LeWitt: 100 Views. Previous to her work at MASS MoCA, Markonish was the curator at Artspace in New Haven, CT.

Anne Wilson
Monday, August 6
Anne Wilson is a Chicago-based visual artist who creates sculpture, drawings, performances and video animations that explore themes of time, loss, private and social rituals. Wilson is the recipient of grants from the Driehaus Foundation, Artadia, the Tiffany Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wilson's work is represented by Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago and Paul Kotula Projects, Detroit. She is a Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.