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The Smithsonian has awarded fellowships to 12 visual artists and one artists’ collaborative as part of the 2014 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship program. Nominations for the fellowship came from international art curators, scholars and former SARF fellows, and awardees were then selected by a panel of Smithsonian art experts.
The fellowship program began in 2007 and allows artists from around the world to have access to Smithsonian collections, meet with Smithsonian scholars and conduct research that is essential to producing new work. More than 90 artists have received this award.
The diverse mediums, nationalities and research interests of the 2014 SARF fellows reflect the unique nature of this fellowship and the research resources available only at the Smithsonian.
About the Artists
- Furniture artist Vivian Beer’s (Manchester, N.H.) work is influenced by vehicles and the history of transportation. She will research the design history of American aeronautics, focusing on the technical and cultural notions that have influenced the changing appearance of airplanes and the concept of speed over time, at the National Air and Space Museum and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
- At the National Museum of Natural History fiber artist Annet Couwenberg (Baltimore) will study the relationship between the bone structures and the outer membranes of fish. She hopes to gain an understanding of the structural and physiological adaptations of fish and the mechanical influence of movement on their skin that will inform the animation of her three-dimensional works.
- Photographer Ken Gonzalez-Day (Los Angeles) will conduct research and photograph portrait busts and life casts in the National Portrait Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Museum of Natural History. He will consider how ideas like manifest destiny and “the vanishing race” affected the depiction of race and the construction of whiteness in sculptural and scientific collections.
- Photographer LaMont Hamilton (Chicago) will examine oral and visual histories of the dap handshake and the meanings and messages it carries. He will work with the collections of the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, as well as the military records in the National Museum of American History library. He also will work with scholars at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- The recent work of photographer Muriel Hasbun (Silver Spring, Md.), has focused on taxidermy sculptures and the slaughterhouse of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She will explore photography archives, animal classification systems and taxidermy object collections in relation to indigenous cultures at the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian.
- Interdisciplinary artist Shana Lutker (Los Angeles) has based her recent work on the surrealists, their work and their fistfights. She will research American artists’ initial encounters with surrealism and the surrealists, and objects and sculptures made between 1923 and 1955 that are imbued with the violence of war at the Archives of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
- The current work of Esperanza Mayobre (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a Venezuelan interdisciplinary artist, centers on the quest for unknown worlds. She will work at the National Air and Space Museum studying objects and records from the Skylab program with a focus on the work and drawings of astronaut E.G. Gibson.
- Artist Kenjiro Okazaki (Tokyo) will examine drawings and archival records in the collections of the Archives of American Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and Smithsonian Folkways, with an interest in using his drawing robots to analyze and reproduce the drawing processes of painters, writers and musicians.
- Video artist and sculptor Amy O’Neill (New York City) will research World War II-era stamps and Recordak system machines and memorabilia at the National Postal Museum.
- Interdisciplinary artist Damián Ortega (Mexico City and Berlin), will study the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s textile collection and the Josef and Anni Albers collection at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. His research will focus on the abstract and rhythmic possibilities of textiles and their role as transmitters of information conveyed through diagrams and schemes.
- Jaime Permuth (New York City) is a Guatemalan photographer with an ongoing interest in the nature of exile, immigration and the complexities of hybrid identities in a globalized society. Working in the Anacostia Community Museum’s photographic archives, he will examine the shifting character and definitions of the urban street during times of war and peace.
- Born in Calcutta, mixed-media artist Praneet Soi’s (Amsterdam and India) current work focuses on the concept of labor, as seen through small one-man workshops in North Calcutta. He will study South Asian and Islamic art in the Freer and Sackler galleries, with a focus on the collection of Mughal miniatures and illustrated texts, including the Shahnama and Falnama.
- U.S.-based artist team Edward Morris, Susannah Sayler and Christina Seely will study the use of archives to construct narratives of time in exhibitions at the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They are interested in exploring how a sensitivity to disparate time scales—human, geologic and cosmologic—can deepen understanding of anthropogenic climate change.
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