The artists in this exhibition work with water as site and material in response to the urgency of a changing climate, increasing urban density, and a burgeoning public awareness of ecological concerns. Their works connect to current economic, political, and global issues, and are in conversation with the traditions of Land Art, Public Art, and Performance Art, among others.
Water is a challenging medium—a formidable force—and it is inherently collaborative and cross-disciplinary. Water invites curiosity and passion but working with water also requires respect, rigor and expertise. The works and events within the triennial are built to ignite audience imagination and invite each individual to be a change agent through shared creativity, knowledge, and contemplation of the past, present, and future of water in New York City.
For the artists in Works on Water, it is a core value to offer their work as inviting the audience to become civically engaged citizens, rather than consumer or spectator. This social practice helps raise awareness and lead to solutions around significant environmental issues. We hope that your involvement with Works on Water leads you, our guest, to reconsider water, in all of its contexts.
We welcome to you to participate in this essential, ongoing, and cross-disciplinary dialogue as an individual, as a member of our community and as a global citizen.
– Emily Blumenfeld, Clarinda Mac Low, Eve Mosher, Nancy Nowacek,
Katie Pearl, and Sarah Cameron Sunde
CURATORIAL TEAM BIOS
Emily Blumenfeld is a public art consultant, curator and art historian working from the New York metropolitan area. She has significant expertise in strategic planning, artist selection, exhibition production, media relations, and working with artists to ensure the maximum impact of their work. Emily is a graduate of the International Leadership Program in Visual Arts Management presented by NYU Steinhardt School, Guggenheim Bilbao and Deusto Business School, Bilbao. She holds a Masters of Arts in Art History and Archaeology from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Sto Len is a printmaker, painter, installation, sound and performance artist with interests in site-specific improvisation and experimentation within a variety of media. An Asian-American artist with equal influences from both his Vietnamese and Virginia origins, Sto works within the dichotomy of these roots and often incorporates their unusual bonds by connecting issues of their history, environment, traditions and politics. Growing up in the Washington DC area, Sto was influenced by the art and activism of the DIY punk rock scene happening there in the 90s, which he continues to embody through artwork that combines those ethics with experimental takes on traditional craft. Sto has exhibited his artwork and performed internationally, including NY, Vietnam, Japan, London, Australia, Denmark, and Canada. Sto co-founded the alternative arts space Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn, NY which has exhibited hundreds of artists since its inception in 2004 and continues to curate exhibitions as a project-based Non-Profit Arts organization. Sto’s work is in numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, West Collection, Tyler School of Art, Yale University, University of Connecticut, Art Institute of Chicago, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, Harvard University Art Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries and San Diego State University. Sto Len is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Clarinda Mac Low
Clarinda Mac Low started out working in dance and molecular biology in the late 1980s and now works in performance and installation, creating participatory installations and events that investigate social constructs and corporeal experience, presented around NYC and elsewhere. Mac Low is co-founder and Executive Director of Culture Push, an experimental organization that links artistic practice and civic engagement. She received a BAX Award in 2004, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant, 2007 and a 2010 Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art grant.
Eve Mosher is an artist, interventionist and playworker-in-training, living and working in New York City. Her works use investigations of the landscape as starting points for audience exploration of urban issues. Her public works raise issues on the environment, public/private space use, history of place, cultural and social issues and our understanding of the urban ecosystem. Her work has been profiled in international media including the The New Yorker, New York Times, ARTnews, American Scientist, L’uomo Vogue, and Le Monde. Her public and community artworks have received grants from New York State Council on the Arts and New York Department of Cultural Affairs, both through the Brooklyn Arts Council, and The City Parks Foundation. Collaborative works with Heidi Quante (Creative Catalysts) have received support from The Kresge Foundation, The Compton Foundation, The Whitman Foundation, and Invoking the Pause. She has a serious interest in urban ecologies and sustainable development.
Nancy Nowacek makes art focused on the power and politics of the body in late-capital, post-industrial culture. Embodying latent or invisible systems—bureaucracy, infrastructure, computer coding—she intervenes into the designed world with sculpture, performance and installations that challenge and shift assumptions of the social and body schema. Often situated between speculation and reality, Nowacek’s work brings conceptual environments and uses of the body into concrete, tactile sensory experience through the transformation of found objects and readymades. Fueled by contemporary issues, her work is inspired by minimalism, land art, conceptual art, and Fluxus. Her projects are often socially-engaged and process-driven, involving the collaboration of dozens to hundreds of participants in their realization. nancynowacek.com
Katie Pearl is a director, playwright, and social practice artist whose work is fueled by the belief that personal encounter and creative exchange are necessary to maintain a humane world. Her projects range from plays to interactive installation to community-wide collaborations, and often invite audiences and participants into radically imaginative situations that playfully challenge traditional structures and norms. As co-Artistic Director of PearlDamour, the interdisciplinary company she shares with playwright Lisa D’Amour, Katie has co-created, directed, and sometimes performed in a body of work spanning 18 years and 13 cities. PearlDamour’s recognition includes an OBIE Award (Nita & Zita), a Creative Capital Award (How to Build a Forest), four Multi-Arts Production Fund grants (LandMark, Terrible Things, How to Build a Forest), and two NEA Our Town grants (Milton). Projects in development include a Steinberg Commission from the Trinity Rep, a new PearlDamour project commissioned by the American Repertory Theatre and the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and The Rest I Make Up, a new documentary she is co-producing about the visionary theater artist Maria Irene Fornes, to be released in the summer of 2017. Katie received her MFA in Writing for Performance from Brown University in 2015. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University and an Anschutz Fellow at Princeton, where her teaching and research focus on the concept of the Artist-Citizen.
Nicki Pombier Berger
Nicki Pombier Berger is an oral historian, artist, writer and educator, and founding editor of Underwater New York. She brings an oral historical approach to work with artists across disciplines, with a particular interest in how the process and products of these collaborations reflect, and enact, desires for change. Working at the intersection of oral history, disability, arts and social change, she has co-created and co-curated multimedia exhibits online and in public spaces, and designed and produced educational and experimental multimedia works, independently and in partnership with institutions like Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities, and Oral History Summer School. She previously led community engagement programming at the nonprofit organization StoryCorps. Nicki has a Master of Arts in Oral History from Columbia University. She is also a writer, with a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College, and her work as writer and editor has largely been centered around Underwater New York, a digital journal and arts project she founded in 2009 which publishes and cultivates the work of artists, writers and musicians inspired by the waterways of New York City. Additionally, Nicki has a Bachelor of Science in the Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is on the faculty at the New School for Drama, where she teaches Narrative Analysis, Documentary Methods in Playwriting, and Dramatic Style and Structure, and offers workshops and presentations to a wide range of audiences on applying oral history in diverse contexts. More about Nicki’s work can be found at www.nickipombierberger.com
Sarah Cameron Sunde
Sarah Cameron Sunde is an interdisciplinary artist and director working at the intersection of performance, video and public art. She is creator 36.5 /A Durational Performance with the Sea and instigator of Works on Water; she has served as Deputy Artistic Director of New Georges for the past 16 years, and is known internationally as Jon Fosse’s American director and translator. Her work been seen at 3LD Art & Technology Center, EFA Project Space, Rattlestick, Kennedy Center, Guthrie Theater and presented internationally in Norway, The Netherlands, Bangladesh, Mexico, China, Uganda and Iraqi Kurdistan. Residencies include LMCC Workspace, Watermill Center, Hermitage Foundation; upcoming: Baryshnikov Art Center. Awards: Princess Grace, Creative Climate First Prize. She holds a BA in Theater from UCLA and MFA in Digital and Interdisciplinary Art Practice from City College, NYC. SarahCameronSunde.com