Social Practice Pioneer Harrell Fletcher Set for March 28 Visit
Harrell Fletcher, an artist who specializes in socially-engaged, interdisciplinary projects, will speak at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film on Thursday, March 28, as part of the school’s Visiting Artists Series.
After a reception beginning at 6 p.m., Fletcher will discuss his unconventional approach to art making at 6:30 p.m. in the Watkins Theater. The event is free and the public is invited.
Since the early 1990s, Fletcher has produced a variety of collaborative, multimedia projects that frequently involve other artists and members of local communities. His work is often curatorial and interactive and, although it is typically playful, it almost always engages aspects of social and political life. Over the years, his projects have ranged from an “alternative library” that he made while still an MFA student at California College of the Arts to a traveling exhibition of photographs he took at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (entitled The American War). In 2004, his contribution to the Whitney Biennial included a publication featuring works by artists not invited to participate. Between 2002 and 2009, in a collaborative web project with the artist-filmmaker Miranda July, he solicited the broader public to submit responses to assignments like “repair something,” “heal yourself,” or “document your bald spot.”
Currently Associate Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, Fletcher is a 2005 winner of the Alpert Award in the Arts, given to “creative experimenters who are challenging and transforming art, their respective disciplines, and society.” He has exhibited his projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Sculpture Center in New York, the Seattle Art Museum, the Royal College of Art in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, and other important venues. His work is in the collections of the New Museum, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art.
“Harrell Fletcher has broadened our understanding as to the importance of public interaction in the art world,” said Ron Lambert, assistant professor of fine art. “His work pioneers a practice of creating and exposing communities through a unique ability to leverage people, places and situations in ordinary contexts that makes us aware of the richness that surrounds us on a daily basis.”
The artist was originally booked to appear as part of last year’s series, but a family emergency necessitated the re-scheduling. However, he remotely directed Watkins students in a community project, and will discuss their efforts, and the resulting project book, during his visit.
About the Artist
Harrell Fletcher received his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA from California College of the Arts. He studied organic farming at the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to work on a variety of small Community Supported Agriculture farms, which impacted his work as an artist. Fletcher has produced a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary projects since the early 1990s. His work has been shown at SF MoMA, the de Young Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Wattis Institute, 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, Apex Art, and Smackmellon in New York City; DiverseWorks and Aurora Picture show in Houston; PICA in Portland, Oregon; CoCA and the Seattle Art Museum in Seattle; Signal in Malmo, Sweden; Domain de Kerguehennec in France; the Royal College of Art in London; and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. He was a participant in the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Fletcher has work in the collections of MoMA, the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, SF MoMA, the Berkeley Art Museum, the De Young Museum, and the FRAC in Brittany, France.
In 2002 Fletcher started Learning To Love You More, a participatory website with Miranda July. A book version of LTLYM 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, Texas, and traveled to Solvent Space in Richmond, Virginia, White Columns in NYC, the Center for Advanced Visual Studies MIT in Boston, PICA in Portland, and LAXART in Los Angeles, among other locations. Fletcher is Associate Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.
The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is an annual yearlong program that welcomes nationally and internationally recognized fine artists, designers, filmmakers, educators and critics to the campus and the community. The third season of the Watkins Visiting Artists Series kicked off in December with a presentation by video and performance artist Liz Magic Laser (New York’s Armory Show 2013 Artist Commission) and continued with a lecture by 3-D illustrator/animator Chris Sickels in conjunction with the Visiting Artist exhibition
Illustration the Hard Way, now on view through April 4 in the Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. Gallery on campus. This series concludes with an April 16 lecture by photographer Deborah Luster.
Updates to programming for each artist’s visit will be posted to the Watkins website: Watkins.edu/VisitingArtistsSeries.
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard in MetroCenter; free parking is available in the campus lot. For more information, visit Watkins.edu or call 615-383-4848.
The Watkins Visiting Artists Series is made possible through a grant from the Memorial Foundation