Visiting Artists Program Announces Fall Lineup of Guest Speakers

Chicago, IL—Visiting Minds. Lasting Influence. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) is pleased to announce the newest lineup of guest speakers for its Visiting Artists Program (VAP), continuing a tradition endowed 60 years ago. All events are free and open to the public. VAP hosts two seasons of public presentations by artists and scholars each academic year through lectures, symposia, performances, and screenings.

“This program is a cornerstone of Chicago's visual arts community, and an invaluable resource for those interested in the art of our time,” notes Andrea Green, Director of the Visiting Artists Program. “The ideas of these internationally renowned artists and scholars are inspiring. VAP features some of the most compelling thinkers at work today—probing, provoking, and questioning the subjects at the core of the creative process and critical inquiry.”

The new season begins Monday, September 10, when renowned photographer Catherine Opie presents the 2012 Bill and Stephanie Sick Visiting Professor Lecture. Notable American industrial designer Stephen Burks visits September 25, followed by Bitch Media cofounder and creative director Andi Zeisler on October 3. Leading political performance artist Tania Bruguera (MFA 2001) continues SAIC’s Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series on October 15. Data Arts Team leader Aaron Koblin from Google's Creative Lab presents his lecture October 25, and artist of monumental, site-specific installationsJean Shin comes to campus November 7 before celebrated contemporary painter Lari Pittman concludes the fall program on Monday, November 12. Information on each presenter is included below.

VAP Online
In addition to making their appearances open to the public, SAIC presents many Visiting Artists Program lectures as audio podcasts online at Recent presenters include Marilyn Minter, Tehching Hsieh, Martha Wilson, and Wolfgang Laib. Join the conversation by following VAP on Facebook or by signing up for its eNewsletter.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and lectures begin promptly at 6:00 p.m.
All lectures are free and open to the public. Reservations for groups of 10 or more must be made two weeks prior to the lecture. Otherwise, seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Catherine Opie: Bill and Stephanie Sick Visiting Professor
Monday, September 10, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

Since the early 1990s, Catherine Opie’s photography has documented sexual, communal, and cultural identity. Her subject matter is diverse, ranging from portraits of personal relationships and social and lifestyle networks, to cityscapes, still lifes, and landscapes. Opie’s formally rigorous aesthetic and deep investigation of how communities form and are defined bind together a practice that honors the humanity of all her subjects.

Opie has exhibited extensively including at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; St. Louis Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles among numerous other museums. She is the 2012–13 Bill and Stephanie Sick Visiting Professor at SAIC and will teach in the Photography department in spring 2013. Established in 2006 by a generous gift from Bill and Stephanie Sick, this professorship enables internationally renowned artists and designers to visit and teach at SAIC.

Stephen Burks
Tuesday, September 25, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

Stephen Burks is one of the most recognized American industrial designers of his generation. His New York studio, Readymade Projects, has been responsible for creative direction and industrial design on projects ranging from retail interiors and events to packaging, consumer products, lighting, furniture, and home accessories. He has developed innovative concepts for renowned international brands such as Boffi, Cappellini, Moroso, Missoni, and Swarovski and continues his commitment to sustainable design by collaborating with artisans in the developing world to transform raw and recyclable materials into functional products. Since 2005, Burks has worked as a consultant for Aid To Artisans, the Clinton Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy, as well as independently for his own Man Made project.

Burks’s designs have been exhibited around the world at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, Tokyo Design Week, the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s Design Triennial, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Art & Design and the Studio Museum in Harlem, both in New York City, and at the Design Exchange in Toronto.

Andi Zeisler
Wednesday, October 3, 6:00 p.m.
SAIC Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.

Andi Zeisler is the cofounder and editorial/creative director of Bitch Media, the nonprofit organization best known for publishing Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Bitch began in 1996 as an all-volunteer ‘zine with a circulation of 300, and is now an internationally distributed quarterly magazine with a circulation of 50,000. Bitch Media, a mission-driven, reader-supported organization, also publishes a thriving website and hosts a variety of programming related to feminism, activism, and media literacy.

A longtime freelance writer and editor, Zeisler has written for numerous periodicals and newspapers, including Ms., Mother Jones, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Utne, BUST, and Women’s Review of Books, among others. She is the coeditor of BitchFest: 10 Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and the author of Feminism and Pop Culture (Seal Press).

Tania Bruguera: Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series
Monday, October 15, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

SAIC alumna Tania Bruguera (MFA 2001) is one of the leading political and performance artists of her generation. Her work researches ways in which art can be applied to everyday political life, creating a public forum to debate ideas in a state of contradiction, focusing on the transformation of the "viewer" into one of "citizenry." Bruguera's terms “arte de conducta” (conduct/behavior art) and “arte útil” (useful art) define her practice. In 2010, Bruguera launched Immigrant Movement International, a five-year project that helps define the immigrant as a unique, new global citizen in a postnational world and tests the concept of “useful art,” by artists actively implementing the merging of art into society’s urgent social, political, and scientific issues.

Bruguera’s work has been presented internationally at Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany and several biennials, including Performa, Venice, Gwangju, and Havana. She has exhibited at the Tate Modern, London; Künsthalle Wien, Vienna; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Presented in collaboration with SAIC’s Office of Alumni Relations.

Aaron Koblin
Thursday, October 25, 6:00 p.m.
SAIC Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.

Aaron Koblin is an artist and designer specializing in data and digital technologies. His work takes real-world and community-generated data and uses it to reflect on cultural trends and the changing relationship between humans and the systems they create. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. His projects have been shown at international festivals including TED, Ars Electronica, SIGGRAPH, OFFF, and Japan Media Arts Festival. He received the National Science Foundation's first-place award for science visualization and two of his music video collaborations have been Grammy nominated. In 2010 Koblin was the Abramowitz Artist in Residence at MIT, and he currently leads the Data Arts Team in Google's Creative Lab.

Jean Shin
Wednesday, November 7, 6:00 p.m.
SAIC Columbus Auditorium, 280 S. Columbus Dr.

Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. For each project, she amasses vast collections of a particular object—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—often sourced through donations from a participating community. These intimate objects then become the materials for her conceptually rich sculptures, videos, and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor-intensive process and her engagement of community, Shin’s arresting installations reflect individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues we face as a society.
Shin has had solo exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, among others. She has also created permanent public art works commissioned by federal and city government agencies as well as Art for Transit programs.

Lari Pittman
Monday, November 12, 6:00 p.m.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Rubloff Auditorium, 230 S. Columbus Dr.

Lari Pittman's work presents juxtapositions between the utopic and dystopic, the sacred and the profane, and the public and the private, drawing simultaneously on elements of abstraction and figuration. Pittman’s paintings and works on paper present a multifaceted image field that appears to be constantly shifting and reinventing itself. In his compositions, images are not arranged traditionally around a central focus. Rather, they are placed expansively—essential elements run laterally across the surface, dot the perimeter, or sprawl in a dazzling array. This visual cacophony is not accidental, but carefully calculated with acute attention to formal properties.

Pittman’s work has been the subject of several exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. Solo exhibitions include Villa Arson, Nice; ICA, London; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; and Corcoran Museum, Washington, DC.

The primary mission of the Visiting Artists Program is to educate and foster a greater understanding and appreciation of contemporary art through discourse. Founded in 1868 and formalized in 1951 with the establishment of an endowed fund by Flora Mayer Witkowsky, the Visiting Artists Program is one of the oldest public programs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to public presentations by artists, designers, and scholars, VAP arranges studio critiques, round-table discussions, and workshops for SAIC students, providing them with direct access to world-renowned speakers working across disciplines.

A leader in educating artists, designers, and scholars since 1866, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees and post-baccalaureate programs to nearly 3,200 students from around the globe. Located in the heart of Chicago, SAIC has an educational philosophy that is built upon an interdisciplinary approach to art and design, giving students unparalleled opportunities to develop their creative and critical abilities while working with renowned faculty who include many of the leading practitioners in their fields. SAIC's resources include the Art Institute of Chicago and its new Modern Wing; numerous special collections and programming venues provide students with exceptional exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances. For more information, please visit

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Catherine Opie, Kate, 2007, Chromogenic Print, 30 x 40 inches. Courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles

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