The Saint Louis Art Museum and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have announced the selection of the next two Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellows.
Chelsea Knight, a New York-based artist whose narrative-based videos, photographs and participatory performances explore the nature of social control and the current state of democracy, will serve as the Freund Fellow for the 2011-12 academic year.
Stih & Schnock, a Berlin-based collaborative team that focuses on issues relating to collective memory, will be Freund Fellows for 2012-13.
“We were particularly interested in Knight’s work as it examines timely and significant social and political themes,” says Patricia Olynyk, the Florence and Frank Bush Professor and director of the Graduate School of Art, who led the selection committee with Tricia Y. Paik, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art for the Saint Louis Art Museum.
“In today’s political climate, Knight’s commitment to language and its role in the construction of power need to be explored more than ever before,” Paik says. “Her ability to present such complex concepts through multi-media installation will prove illuminating.”
Conversely, “Stih & Schnock are able to engage and bring visual form to historical research and archives in the public sphere,” Olynyk says. “Their process aligns nicely with the mission of the Sam Fox School, while their irreverent humor and ‘joie de vivre’ will be a welcome infusion.”
“We found their practice of institutional critique fresh and insightful,” Paik says. “We are confident they will find a unique way of applying it to the local culture of St. Louis.”
Supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, Freund Fellowships promote the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Saint Louis Art Museum, as well as the teaching of contemporary art principles in the Sam Fox School. Each fellowship consists of two month-long residencies, during which recipients teach in the Sam Fox School and prepare an exhibition for the museum’s Currents series.
Chelsea Knight, still from The End of All Resistance, 2010. Single-channel Video, 29 minutes. The piece includes two U.S. Army interrogators who teach and role-play “emotional interrogation techniques” according to the U.S. Army Field Manual.
Born in Vermont, Knight received her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and her master of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She completed residencies at the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and was a 2007 Fulbright Fellow in Italy.
Knight’s work blends fact and fiction, personal and political, scripted text and improvised response. Her subjects have ranged from artists and professional dancers to prison inmates and Army interrogators. In the performance Frame (2011), a group of male construction workers assemble a wooden structure while speaking from feminist theoretical texts.
For the video installation Don’t Tread on Me (2011), Knight interviewed Tea Party activists, Ayn Rand enthusiasts, Libertarians, ex-communists, stockbrokers and other advocates of free-market capitalism.
In 2010-11, Knight was a resident at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Abrons Art Center, New York; Momenta Art, Brooklyn; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Julius Caesar Gallery, Chicago; and The University of Syracuse, NY. Major group shows include the Young Artists’ Biennial, Bucharest; the 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial; and the festival Les Rencontres Internationales in Paris and Berlin.
Stih & Schnock
Stih & Schnock consists of Renata Stih, professor of art and technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, and Frieder Schnock, a critic, art historian and former curator at the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel. Together they have taught at numerous European Institutions and American universities, including Princeton, Harvard, Chicago and Brown.
The pair is known for large-scale public projects that investigate how memory functions in the social sphere and how it is reflected symbolically in urban spaces. For Places of Remembrance in Berlin-Schöneberg (1993), Stih & Schnock posted 80 signs throughout the city, each bearing the text of a Nazi-era regulation against Jews. Meanwhile, The City as Text (2007) consists of a room-sized carpet bearing a large interactive map that explores Munich through the prism of its Jewish past.
In 2007, Places of Remembrance was included in the exhibition Reality Bites: Making Avante-garde Art in Post-wall Germany at Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. In addition, Stih & Schnock’s “You Know, This Isn’t Bad Advice” / German Emigrants in America, a set of 18 mixed-media paintings based on statements drawn from émigré diaries, was commissioned for and published in the anthology Caught by Politics: Hitler Exiles and American Visual Culture (2007), co-edited by Sabine Eckmann, the William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator of the Kemper Art Museum, and Lutz Koepnick, professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures in Washington University’s College of Arts & Sciences.
Other projects examine art collections as sites of collective memory. Examples include The Art of Collecting — Flick in Berlin (2004), Show Your Collection — Jewish Traces in Munich Museums (2008) and the ongoing portrait series Who Needs Art – We Need Potatoes (1998), which pairs the names of famous artists with elegantly photographed spuds.
Saint Louis Art Museum
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20thcenturies, with particular strengths in 20th-century German art. The Museum offers a full range of exhibitions and educational programming generated independently and in collaboration with local, national and international partners.
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
The Sam Fox School supports the creation, study and exhibition of multidisciplinary and collaborative work. Offering rigorous art and architecture education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the Sam Fox School links four academic units — the College of Art, College of Architecture, Graduate School of Art and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design — with the university’s nationally recognized Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.