A sense of becoming, or metamorphosis, permeates the works of performance and media artist Dean Moss. An interdisciplinary choreographer and video maker, his practice investigates the experience of assimilation. Meditating the fluidity of self and the perception of other, he seeks pathways for the release of tension caused by the histories and abuses of power. These works manifest through transcultural, mixed media performance collaborations that often incorporate audience participation.
Past premieres include: johnbrown (2014), a work which used its presentation and pre-performance production to reflect not only on the controversial legacy of the white abolitionist but also the racial, gender, and generational processes at play in the inquiry; Nameless forest (2011), a collaboration with Korean sculptor and installation artist Sungmyung Chun — referencing Chun’s imagery, the performance investigated existential narratives while engaging the audience in experiential rites of passage; Kisaeng becomes you (2009), with Korean traditional and modern dance choreographer Yoon Jin Kim — where audience members were invited to embody the discipline and poetry of kisaeng (artist/courtesans of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty); and figures on a field (2005) with the visual artist Laylah Ali — featuring embodied scenes based on her paintings, interrupted and dissected by a docent-led audience tour of the performance. Moss’ most recent premiere is titled Petra (2018), an autobiographical meditation on desire. The work examined race, sex, and power through the lens of service and unrequited love.
Moss is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography; the Doris Duke Impact Award in Theatre; a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Artists Grant; plus fellowships in Choreography and Multidisciplinary Works from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His performance concoctions have been presented by New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Walker Art Center, and The Kitchen, among others. He was awarded a “Bessie” for his work Spooky action at a distance.
Moss was the Curator of Dance and Performance at The Kitchen from 1999-2004 and a Curatorial Advisor until 2009. He has lectured internationally including at Tokyo University of the Arts, Kookmin University in Seoul, and for three years at Harvard University in the department of Visual and Environmental Studies, for which he received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. More recently Moss was resident faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and he is currently deepening his collaborative practice though conceptual facilitation and visual design for various emerging artists.