Presence as Portal

With Maria Gaspar

Artists have used performance to engage various social and political issues through resistance practices that include protest art to public actions. In this course, we will experiment with embodiment in relationship to intervening, mediating, or deconstructing power. Students will investigate these ideas by way of individual and collective gestures and as a means of release and liberation.

Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:30 - 2:30pm EST

Sep 27th - Nov. 8th

11 am - 1:30 pm EST

Students Max


Maria Gaspar is a Chicago-born interdisciplinary artist whose practice addresses issues of spatial justice to amplify, mediate, or divert structures of power through individual and collective gestures. Her body of work responds to the perceptual and political manifestations of place through multi-year projects that span a range of formats and scales. They include sound performances at a military site (Sounds for Liberation; New Haven, CT); long-term public art interventions at the largest jail in the country (96 Acres Project and Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall; Chicago); and audio-video works, documenting a prison demolition located in her childhood neighborhood (Ellipses; Chicago). Working within historically marginalized sites and histories, Gaspar contends with erasure, power, and proximity issues by generating liberatory actions with others. Influenced by the hyper-local, Gaspar challenges understandings of geography and the social constructions of space by mediating and subverting the familiar or unseen to provoke new interpretations.

Gaspar is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship for the Creative Arts, United States Artists Fellowship, Frieze Impact Prize, Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, Art Matters Award, Imagining Justice Art Grant, Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, and Creative Capital Award. Other honors include the Sor Juana Women of Achievement Award in Art and Activism from the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Chamberlain Award for Social Practice from the Headlands Center for the Arts. Gaspar has exhibited extensively at venues including MoMA PS1, New York, NY; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; and the San José Museum of Art, San José, CA. She is an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, holds an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Disappearance Suit (2012-ongoing)
Feedback 2019 Screen printed 5 poster booklets with 7” vinyl record inside hard case 7” x 7” x 3/4” Photo credit: Clare Britt
Radioactive: Stories from Beyond the Wall 2016-2018 Site Intervention Dimensions Variable Photo credit: Sarah J. Rhee Maria Gaspar, Lead Artist
I Look For These Past Hands 2013 Flag, pole, string, vinyl 26' x 5'
Unblinking Eyes, Watching 2019 Digital composite photograph printed to scale on vinyl adhesive 40’ X 26’ Photo credit: Clare Britt

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