The Princeton University Art Museum and the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton present Contemporary Conversations: Artistic Practice in Response to the Present with multimedia artist Cristóbal Martínez, Chair of Art and Technology Program at San Francisco Art Institute, on Thursday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom Webinar. Martínez will discuss his practice as a member of the indigenous artist collectives Postcommodity, Radio Healer, and Red Culebra, and the lessons that interdisciplinary, collaborative, and socially engaged art can offer in the context of the present moment in a discussion with Mitra Abbaspour, the Art Museum’s Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. The conversation will be introduced by Martha Friedman, Director of the Program in Visual Arts in the Lewis Center. This virtual event is free and open to the public, and information, Zoom link and registration are available here or at artmuseum.princeton.edu.
In addition to chairing the Art and Technology Program at the San Francisco Art Institute and working as an award-winning artist, Martínez is a published scholar. In 2003 he founded the artist-hacker performance ensemble Radio Healer, and in 2009 he began working in the interdisciplinary and internationally acclaimed artist collective Postcommodity. In 2018 he co-founded, with post-Mexican composer Guillermo Galindo, the experimental electronic music duet Red Culebra. Martínez has dedicated his life and career to interdisciplinary collaboration in contemporary art and continues his work as an artist within the aforementioned groups. Martínez aspires to make poetic and idea driven art that re-imagines sites of contest, controversy, conflict, and consequence into places of (joint) curiosity. The artist describes his work as providing the grounds for transformative experiences that reveal the incongruences embedded within places, memories, amnesias, behaviors, knowledge, beliefs, ideologies, assumptions, choices, philosophies, relationships, and worldviews.
Martínez has exhibited work in numerous national and international museums, exhibitions, and festivals including the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Sundance Film Festival, Adelaide International, Contour the 5th Biennale of the Moving Image, Nuit Blanche, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Museum of Modern Art, 2017 Whitney Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art in General, documenta14, the 57th Carnegie International, Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Art Institute, LAXArt, Minneapolis Art Institute, and the historic land art installation Repellent Fence at the U.S./Mexico border Near Douglas, Arizona, Agua Prieta, SON, and here at the Princeton University Art Museum. In 2015 Martinez completed his Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics at Arizona State University.
“We want to highlight the voices of the artists most directly impacted by or working in response to the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Abbaspour. “Our aspiration is to engage these artists in dialogues about their practice in such a way that offers insight into the role of art in the contemporary moment.”
“As a member of three indigenous artist collectives and a program leader at SFAI, Cristóbal’s voice represents a number of the communities most impacted by the pandemic,” adds Friedman. “We feel this will be a powerful conversation, especially for our students, and will hopefully provide mutual benefit to the artist as well.”
Mitra Abbaspour joined the Princeton University Art Museum in 2016. She previously served as an Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art and an Assistant Curator at the California Museum of Photography, in addition to having served as a guest curator for a number of exhibitions at various institutions. Exhibitions and installations she has curated or co-curated at the Museum include Helen Frankenthaler Prints: Seven Types of Ambiguity (2019), Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking (2018), Making History Visible: Of American Myths and National Heroes (2017).
In addition to directing Princeton’s Program in Visual Arts, Martha Friedman is a New York-based sculptor who works with solid and plastic materials to form, deform and test the boundaries of the physical world. Her recent works have included collaborations with choreographers and dancers Susan Marshall and Silas Riener, extending her work into a visceral and flexible dimension, exploring material sculpture, the human body, and the relationships that can exist between the two. Friedman began teaching at Princeton in 2009, was appointed full time lecturer in 2011, and as director of the program in 2017. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at The Henry Museum, Seattle, WA (2018-2019), The Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2017); Institute of Fine Arts New York University, New York (2016-17); Locust Projects, Miami (2015-16); Wallspace, New York (2012, 2009, 2007); the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI (2010); and many others.