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Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture: Simon Leung

November 11, 2014 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Simon Leung’s foremost concern as an artist is how “the ethical,” broadly defined, can be thought and traced. His projects, in various media, include a rethinking of AIDS and otherness using the figures of the pinprick and the glory hole; meditations on “the residual space of the American/Vietnam War” (comprising works on the squatting body as counter-architecture, military desertion as askesis, and surfing); a video essay on the site/non-site dialectic instigated by Robert Smithson’s reception of Edgar Allan Poe (with a little help from Yvonne Rainer); a reconsideration of Marcel Duchamp’s oeuvre as an discourse in ethics (as seen through Étant donnés); and “squatting projects” in various cities (Berlin, New York, Chicago, Vienna, Guangzhou, Hong Kong), where the squatting body, as a heuristic cipher, is conjugated by an interpretation generated by the conditions of each location.

Leung’s more recent works include the culmination of a twenty-year collaboration with Warren Niesłuchowski in the form of two 2011 works, a site-specific project for the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, called “Artist in Residence,” and a film, “War After War.” “ACTIONS!”—a performance of “art workers’ theater” inspired by the PASTA/MoMA strike of 2000, art/political protests from 1969/70, and art/activism from the recent past (including some under the auspices of Occupy Wall Street)—was presented at the Kitchen in New York in 2013. “The Side of the Mountain,” an opera project set in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, is set for completion in 2016. Sections of the opera—“Botany and Rhetoric” (the overture, 2004); “… that this is here…” (the first act, 2005, 2006); and “Proposal for The Side of the Mountain” (the third act, 2002)—have been shown as gallery exhibitions in Europe and the US. Leung’s collaborators for the opera are the composers Luke Stoneham and Michael Webster.

Exhibitions in which Leung has participated include the Venice Biennale (2003), the Whitney Biennial (1993), the Luleå Summer Biennial (2005), and the Guangzhou Triennial (2008). Other selected venues include: Art Institute of Chicago; MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge; the Museum of Modern Art, the New Museum, PS1, and American Fine Arts in New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Solo presentations/exhibitions include Pat Hearn Gallery, Anthology film Archives, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Drawing Center, Huntington Beach Art Center, Las Cienegas Projects, CUE Art Foundation, the Kitchen, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Writings and interviews by Leung have appeared in the journals October, Printed Projects, Surface Tension, Shifter, Public Culture, and Documents and the anthologies The Invisible Flâneuse? (Manchester University Press, 2006) and Global Visual Cultures: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). He is co-editor, with Zoya Kocur, of the anthology Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 (2nd edition Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).

Leung has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the arts, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the California Community Foundation, as well as grants from Art Matters, the Maryland Arts Council, the MICA Foundation, the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts.

An endowment established in 1983 through the generosity of Nancy and Robin Hanes supports the Art Department’s Visiting Artist Series. This important program brings both established and emerging artists to campus to discuss their work in public lectures and to offer individual critiques to our M.F.A. students.  The Hanes Visiting Artist series greatly enriches both our academic programs and our outreach to the wider community.  All lectures are free and open to the public.


November 11, 2014
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Cary Levine