Spring 2009

The Kansas City Art Institute's spring lineup of artists, designers and scholars that spoke as part of the college's "Current Perspectives" lecture series during the spring 2009 semester are listed below.

Robert Adanto

This evening’s event will feature a screening of the film “The Rising Tide” followed by a discussion with the film’s director Robert Adanto. “The Rising Tide” investigates China’s meteoric march toward the future through the work of some of the nation’s most talented emerging artists, whose work reflects the country’s rising influence as an economic and cultural force in the global arena and conveys some of the social and aesthetic confusion created by a society experiencing such rapid change. Produced within the dual context of globalization and urbanization, the work of artists Cao Fei, Xu Zhen, Yang Yong, Wang Qingsong, Chen Quilin, Birdhead and Zhang O examines the collision between the present and the future, as well as the confusion and ambiguity that characterize the new China. Robert Adanto, an independent documentary filmmaker, earned his M.F.A. degree in acting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is currently working on two new documentary projects: a short film set in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Nairobi, Kenya, and a second project that will take him to Tehran. For more information on the film and to view a trailer, visit www.therisingtidefilm.com.

Harrell Fletcher

Harrell Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually for more than 15 years on a variety of socially engaged, interdisciplinary projects. His work has been shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum, Berkeley Art Museum and Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area; The Drawing Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Sculpture Center, The Wrong Gallery and Smackmellon in New York; DiverseWorks and Aurora Picture Show in Houston; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Oregon; Center on Contemporary Art and Seattle Art Museum in Seattle; Signal in Malmo, Sweden; Domain de Kerguehennec in France; and The Royal College of Art in London. Fletcher exhibits in San Francisco and Los Angeles with Jack Hanley Gallery, in New York with Christine Burgin Gallery, in London with Laura Bartlett Gallery and in Paris with Gallery In Situ. He was a participant in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Fletcher has work in the collections of MoMA, The Whitney Museum, The New Museum, San Francisco MoMA, Berkeley Art Museum, the de Young Museum and the FRAC Centre in France. In 2002 Fletcher started “Learning to Love You More,” an ongoing participatory Web site with Miranda July. A book version of “Learning to Love You More” was published in 2007 by Prestel. Fletcher is the 2005 recipient of the Alpert Award in Visual Arts. His exhibition “The American War” originated in 2005 at ArtPace in San Antonio and traveled to Solvent Space in Richmond, Va., White Columns in New York, The Center For Advanced Visual Studies MIT in Boston, PICA in Portland, Ore. and LAXART in Los Angeles, among other locations. Fletcher is a professor of art and social practice at Portland State University in Oregon.

David Kirby

David Kirby is the author of 11 books of poems, 13 books of literary and cultural criticism and two children’s books and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Chicago Tribune and The Christian Science Monitor. His books of essays and criticism include: “What Is a Book?”; “Herman Melville”; “Mark Strand and the Poet’s Place in Contemporary Culture”; and “Writing Poetry.” His latest book of essays is titled: “Ultra-Talk: Johnny Cash, The Mafia, Shakespeare, Drum Music, St. Teresa Of Avila and 17 Other Colossal Topics Of Conversation.” Nominated for the 2007 National Book Award in poetry, Kirby’s “The House on Boulevard St.” was named “one of the five reasons to live” by Entertainment Weekly. Dr. Kirby has been awarded grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Arts Council. He is the recipient of the James Dickey Prize, the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and multiple Pushcart Prize awards as wellas inclusions in The Best American Poetry. Professor Kirby received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and teaches at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he is the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English and where he has received three University Teaching Awards. He recently completed a new book, “Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Jennnifer Woodin

Jennifer Woodin is an artist, designer and educator working in the field of ceramics. Originally from California, she is currently a visiting professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Chico in 1996. For eight years, Woodin pursued a career in both mechanical and civil engineering. Starting a second career in the arts, Woodin received her M.F.A. degree from the University of Oregon. Her research and practice combine aspects of the two careers forming a unique line of inquiry. Her current works explore the empathic connection between the vocabulary of industrial plumbing and human anatomy through the use of mass-produced porcelain objects. Woodin recently received a six-month artist-in-residence award from the International Ceramic Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark. She has presented lectures at NCECA and the H.O.P.E.S. conference for the Ecological Design Center in Oregon. Recent exhibitions include “Taiwan Biennial ’08,” Grimmerhus Museum in Denmark, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Oregon, “Ninth International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition” in Hawaii and “Clay-Industry” in Denmark.

Ke-Sook Lee

A 1982 painting graduate of KCAI, Ke-Sook Lee received her first B.F.A. degree in applied art from the College of Fine Art at Seoul National University in 1963. After school, she worked as a graphic designer at Yu-Yu Pharmaceutical Company. In 1964, she and her husband came to the United States. She did post-graduate work at the University of Missouri and worked part-time as a graphic designer in the illustration department at the university’s hospital. Then she became a full-time homemaker for the next 16 years, during which time she did a lot of sewing. Lee’s work explores the boundaries of drawing, adopting common marks from everyday life as drawing marks such as worn holes, mended holes, wrinkles, folded marks and layered doily marks on wet pulp. She collects embroidered or crocheted vintage household linens and recycles them by incorporating them with her drawings. She is the recipient of a Charlotte Street individual grant (1999), a Lorenzo Il Magnifico first-place award in new media and installations, 4th Florence Biennale, Italy, and an individual artist fellowship from the Kansas Artists Commission. She has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and Kansas City as well as internationally.

Xing Danwen

Xing Danwen is one of the most active and acclaimed of China’s contemporary artists. Originally trained as a painter at Xi’an Academy of Fine Art and Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Art, Xing Danwen turned to photography in the 1980s. In 1989, she photographed student democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square and went on to travel throughout China as a photojournalist documenting Tibetan villagers and coal miners. Throughout the 1990s, she chronicled the experimental performances of a new generation of artists living and working in Beijing’s East Village in a series entitled “A Personal Diary of Chinese Avant-Garde Art in the 1990s” and became one of the earliest contemporary artists in China to explore the medium of photography as an art form. She received her M.F.A. degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2001. Since then, she has created critical and conceptual works that explore the increasing impact of China’s ongoing transformation. Fiction, truth and illusion often play an important role in her works, especially in the recent series “Urban Fiction,” which is included in the exhibition “Stairway to Heaven: From Chinese Streets to Monuments and Skyscrapers” at the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Paul D. Miller

Paul D. Miller is a composer, multimedia artist and writer. Miller is well known under the moniker of his “constructed persona” as “D.J. Spooky That Subliminal Kid.” Miller has recorded extensively and collaborated with a wide variety of musicians and composers such as Iannis Xenakis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Kronos Quartet, Kool Keith a.k.a. Doctor Octagon, Pierre Boulez, Killa Priest from Wu-Tang Clan, Steve Reich, Yoko Ono and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth among many others. Miller’s work as a media artist has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture; the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh; and many other museums and galleries. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum and Rapgun. He is an editor of the magazine 21c and the author of “Rhythm Science” (MIT Press, 2004). “Sound Unbound,” an anthology of writings on sound art and multimedia by contemporary cultural theorists, was published this year, also by MIT Press.

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

This evening’s event will feature a screening of “Proceed and Be Bold!” followed by a question-and-answer session with the subject of the film: Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. Kennedy is an internationally recognized printing press artist, though he would rather be referred to as a “humble Negro printer.” Kennedy tossed aside his corporate 9-to-5 job at AT&T with its steady income, choosing to live in extremely rural Alabama towns and going wherever his art takes him. He found his calling making chipboard posters he sells inexpensively, so anyone and everyone can afford his art. His posters are socially, politically and racially charged, with quotes from Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks and phrases like “coffee makes you black.” The documentary film “Proceed and Be Bold!” probes Kennedy, his friends, family and colleagues in an attempt to unravel the artist’s meaning. The result is a discussion on the monetary and intrinsic values of art, the goals of an artist, the workings of race and culture and what “the American Dream” really means.

MIguel Rivera

Miguel Rivera joined the KCAI faculty in fall 2008 to serve as chair of the printmaking department. A practicing artist as well as an experienced educator, Rivera has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in Mexico, Japan and the United States. Formerly he was chair of the art department at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico and also served as an associate professor of printmaking and computers in art. Prior to joining the University of Guanajuato in 1998, he was an associate artist at Inkling Studio in Portland, Ore., and before that, he was an instructor at West Virginia University in Morgantown, where he completed his M.F.A. degree in printmaking and applied digital media in 1997. He earned a B.F.A. degree in printmaking and painting in 1995 from Southern Oregon University in Ashland and an associate degree in printmaking in 1992 from the University of Guanajuato. Rivera also has given visiting artist lectures in Mexico and the United States, including the Contemporary Arts Festival in Guanajuato, Southern Graphics Council conference and Alternative Printmaking Workshop at the second annual Art Students Conference in Queretaro.

John Canemaker

John Canemaker is an Academy Award-winning independent animator, animation historian, teacher and author. His personal films are in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and his nine books on animation history are among the most important and thoroughly researched in the field. He is a full professor and director of animation studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film & Television. Canemaker’s many achievements, contributions and awards include a 2006 Oscar for his 28-minute animated short “The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation,” a 2006 Emmy Award for outstanding television graphic design, an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College in 2007 and a special award from the 2006 Zagreb Animation Festival. In 2008 he received the Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood in recognition of his career contributions to the art of animation. Canemaker will screen “The Moon and the Son” and speak on a range of topics.

Bill Brady

Second Annual Distinguished Alumnus/a Speaker – Bill Brady graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1991 and went on to attend the Skowhegan Residency Program in Skowhegan, Maine. Drawn to New York and the lively art scene, Brady attended graduate school at the School of Visual Arts. He worked at the Guggenheim Museum of Art and at Chase Manhattan Bank, where he oversaw their growing collection of fine art. Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, Brady opened his first gallery in a small storefront space in New York’s East Village. To help finance the gallery, he installed an operational ATM in the front window and called it The ATM Gallery. Now in its third (and largest) location at 621 W. 27th St. in Chelsea, ATM Gallery has become an important venue for introducing emerging contemporary artists. National and international artists represented by the gallery include Huma Bhabha, Yayoi Deki, Alison Fox, Tomoo Gokita, Min Kim, Tamami Kubota, Mike Pare, Noam Rappaport, Miguel Angelo Rocha, KCAI alumnus Eric Sall, Saeko Takagi and Gordon Terry. Brady has also shown works by other artists with KCAI and Kansas City ties including Peter Caine, Art Miller and Vince Roark.

Santiago Cucullu

Santiago Cucullu was born in 1969 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and currently lives in Milwaukee. He received his M.F.A. degree from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999 and B.F.A. degree from the Hartford Art School in Connecticut in 1992. His awards include a Wisconsin Arts Board grant and Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue as well as residencies at the Glassel Core Program in Houston, ARCUS Project, Ibaraki, Japan, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. He recently became a recipient of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship and participated in the annual Nohl Fellowship exhibition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Institute of Visual Arts (Inova). His solo projects include exhibitions at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Inova, Milwaukee; and more. He has exhibited widely in group shows, including Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Le Plateau, Paris; Singapore Bienniale; Museo de Arte Contempor├íneo de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico; Camden Arts Centre, London; REDCAT, Los Angeles; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.