Danielle Dean


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Artist Statement

My work explores the colonialism of mind and body—the interpellation of thoughts, feelings and social relations by power structures working through news, advertising, political speech, and digital media. I focus on processes of the construction of race, gender, age and class that are generated through target-marketing practices, commodifying subjectivities. I am interested in subverting such processes, to both understand and shift them toward a non-essentialized space of being, blurring fiction, reality, subject and object.

In previous work I have investigated this through video, performance and installation using language from advertising, news and popular culture as material. Using words from these sources in a cut-up method, developing dialogues as assemblages to explore how we are articulated in language in relation to what Stuart Hall calls “floating signifiers”: layers of meaning historically placed onto objects, people and places, contributing to subject construction. These signifiers are separate from actual phenomena, and I see them as objects (entities) in themselves: having a potential to both be rearranged and become lives in themselves, they can effectively re-imagine what it is to be human, or an object. I am interested in moving towards a non-essentialist space of being, blurring fiction (metaphor) and reality.

Recently, I have been working on a series of pieces inspired by this one Nike product:True Red, the Vampire sneaker – released in 2003. I am interested in this particular shoe because of how it uses a historical fiction – “the vampire” – and the colors red and black; historical symbols of radical politics and the avant- garde. I am interested in how capitalism gentrifies these notions of radicality, and how we might re-deploy this potential.

First in the series is True Red – a hand drawn animation. The sneaker morphs into various forms – a bat, a castle, an oozing red substance—over the course of approximately three minutes.  By turning True Red into the protagonist of an animation, I wanted to explore the capacity for objects to seemingly acquire a life of their own.

The second work in the series is titled “A Portrait of True Red.’ It stages a narrative in which a mysterious fictional character, Sam Jones, dies and reincarnates as Nike’s shoe. From a person, Jones turns into a hybrid of a vampire, a brand, and an object.

Her story is told through a monologue. The script is an assemblage of historical accounts of political violence such as slave revolts in 1700, violence against the workers in China who make Nike sneakers, and fragments of Nike’s marketing strategies.

Finally the project I am currently working on is called Vamps, True Red A clip art style graphic of a castle ruin seen here is based on the colors of the vampire sneakers and design elements of the Elmina Castle in Ghana, Africa, which was a colonial outpost for the slave trade. In Vamps, True Red Ruin, the castle and its loaded history are flattened, referencing point-of- sale displays for products, and the aesthetics of mass entertainment. The display will become the set for a speculative vampire film, shot in an affordable housing community in Houston, Texas, which was first developed in 1938. My sister and her friends, residents of this community, will feature in the film. The piece seeks to connect the lives of young people with the narratives of colonialism and capitalist aspiration, represented through Nike’s mythology.


Born 1982 in Alabama, U.S.A
Dual Nationality; U.S.A and U.K


2013 – The Whitney Museum of American Art: Independent Study Program, NY, U.S
2012 – MFA California Institute of Arts, Los Angeles, CA, U.S
2006 – BFA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2003 – Foundation studies, Central Saint Martins, London, UK


Hexafluorosilicic, Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, CA, U.S.

Confession on a Dance Floor, The Bindery projects, Minnesota, MN, U.S
Part Time Lover, Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, CA, U.S
Baby Girl, No Lye, CalArts Thesis Show, Los Angeles, CA, U.S

Heaven on Earth, CalArts Thesis show, Los Angeles, CA, U.S

Future Essence, 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning @ 45, London, UK
Future Essence, Central St Martins Window Gallery, London, UK


Upcoming, Experimental People, High Line Art, New York, NY
Upcoming (TBD), BOFFO Digital Commissions, Karen Archey, Instagram, New York, NY
Lagos Live, Goethe Institut Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria
At the Seams, The Grimsby Public Art Gallery, Grimsby, ON, Canada
Open Source, Contemporary arts festival, Dalston, London, UK
It Can Howl, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA
The doer of great deeds and the speaker of great words, Hap Gallery, Portland, OR
2016 Core Exhibition, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
Shifters, Art in General, New York, NY
Flavr Savr*, curated by Alexandra Gaty, The Pit, Los Angeles, CA
Gentrification, Houston Museum-African American Culture, Houston, TX
What Shall We Do Next? Diverse Works, Houston, TX
Focus, Danielle Dean, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
Art and the measure of Liberty, Korea, United Nations, New York, NY
After Biopolitics, in conjunction with SLSA Conference at Rice University, Houston, TX
It Came From CalArts, CentralTrak: The University of Texas at Dallas, TX
Core Exhibition, Glassell school of art, Houston, TX.

Effeminaries, Western Exhibitions, Chicago, IL, U.S
Made in L.A 2014, The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, U.S
Whitney Independent Study Program Studio Exhibition, {TEMP}, New York, NY
Open, Papillion, Leimert Park, Los Angeles, CA, U.S

Demolition Women, The Guggenheim gallery at Chapman University, Orange, CA, U.S

Full Time Lover, CoLab, Art Platform, Los Angeles, CA, U.S
Authenticity? Untitled Art Projects, Los Angeles, CA, U.S
MMXII, LA Mart, Los Angeles, CA, U.S

Tropical Lab, LASALLE College of the Arts, SINGAPORE
Open Ending, The Farley Building, Los Angeles, CA
Womanhouse, Main Gallery: CalArts, Los Angeles, CA
The White Woman with the Brown Skin with a White Name with a Gun on a Horse, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA

LuckyPDF, Episode 2, Auto Italia LIVE, Internet broadcast from London. UK
Yes Way 2, Auto Italia South East with Upset The Rhythm, London. UK
No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern, London. UK.

Melrose Place, James Taylor Gallery, London, UK.
Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, Tate Modern, London, UK
Menu, Savoy Café, London, UK
Panda Malin-Head, Auto Italia South East, London, UK
If you could do anything, what would you do? Home Live Art, London, UK
Yes Way, Auto Italia South East with Upset The Rhythm, London, UK

Epic, Auto Italia South East, London, UK

For One Night Only, Auto Italia South East, London, UK

Central St Martins Degree Show, London, UK.
Peace Camp hosted by Bob & Roberta Smith, Brick Lane Gallery, London, UK

Celeste Art Prize, The Old Truman Brewer, London, UK
Just Visiting, Camberwell Arts Week Festival, London, UK


Bubble Bath, Assembly Point, London, U.K
Comrade, what is you visual bond today?, Moma PS1, New York, NY

Regional, International & Extraterrestrial, Museum as Retail Space, Los Angeles, CA
BORIS R. Gulp, 2601-2603 Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Discourse in New Media, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Seeing Hearing Screening, Dark Lodge, Chicago. IL
&NOW 2015 at Calarts, Maggie Nelson, Los Angeles, CA

Danielle Dean, Hannah Price, Rodrigo Valenzuela, Diverse Works, Houston, TX
2nd Annual Afterglow Summer Video Series, Pieter Performance Space, Los Angeles, CA
Moving Situations, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Made for Television, Aux Performance Space, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA

74 MINUTES, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles < 9811.81 km Vienna, Atelier Sachlink, Vienna, AUSTRIA


2016 -17 – Open sessions, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
2016 – The Shandaken Project, Brookyln, New York
2014-16 – The Core, The Museum of Fine Art Houston, Houston, TX
2012 – Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine, U.S
2011 – Tropical Lab, LASALLE College of the Arts residency and exhibition, Singapore


2016 – Long Prize, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston, TX
2015 – Creative Capital, Visual Arts award, NY, New York
2014 – Rema Hort Foundation award, Los Angeles
2013 – Emdash Award, Frieze Foundation, Finalist, London, UK
2012 – Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture full scholarship, Maine Interdisciplinary Project Grant / CalArts’ Provost Fund.
2010 – MFA CalArts full scholarship
2005 – Celeste Art Prize, finalist, London


2016 – Visiting Artist, The Art Program, fall semester, California Institute of Arts, Los Angeles, CA, U.S
Visiting Artist, The Photography department, The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Visiting Artist, The Photography department, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Detroit, IL

2014-15 -Adjunct professor, The Art department, Rice University, Houston, TX


2015 – Art and the measure of Liberty catalogue, Baik Art, Los Angles, CA
2014 – Made in L.A catalogue, Connie Butler and Michael Ned Holte, Los Angeles, CA
2013 – Demolition Women catalogue, The Guggenheim gallery at Chapman University, Orange, CA
2012 – Monaco Magazine, Issue five, edited by Katie Guggenheim, London, UK
2011 – Monaco Magazine, Printed Matter, Issue four, New York, NY
2010 – Monaco Magazine, ICA, Issue two, London, UK
The Book of The Film, Donlon Books, Publish and Be Damned, London, UK
Panda Malin-Head catalogue, Auto Italia South East. London, UK


Your First Look at Open Source Art Festival 2016, AnOther, Natalie Rigg, London
Flavr Savr* at the Pit, Dailyserving, Calder Yates, Los Angeles, CA
Pulse check: What’s next for DiverseWorks and Lawndale, Houston Chronicle, Molly Glentzer, Houston, TX
Should have brought a philosopher 3 from diverseworks what shall we do next, AEQAI, Joelle Jameson
11 Things to Do in New York’s Art World Before February 1st, Paul Laster, Observer.com
“What Shall We Do Next?”: DiverseWorks’ First Exhibit at Its New Digs, Steve Jansen, HoustonPress, TX
Restless Finger Syndrome, Houstonia magazine, William Geoffrey Wood, Houston, TX

Betsy Huete’s Top Ten of 2015, The Great God Pan is dead, Betsy Huete
Towards a New Digital Landscape, Representation, Erasure, and the Future of Digital Art, Walker Art magazine,
Kimberly Drew, online.
Five Rad New Media Artists to Watch, Bitch Media, Miriam W. Karraker, Portland, OR
The Agenda: This Week in Los Angeles, Art In America, online
Fresh faces in Art: Eight LA Artist you should know, Fabrik 27, Kio Griffith. Los Angeles, CA
5 Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week, L.A Weekly, Catherine Wagley, Los Angeles, CA Critics pick, Artforum, Travis Diehl, online.
Danielle Dean:Hexafluorosilicic, L.A Weekly, Catherine Wagley, Los Angeles, CA.
An Art Fair in a Wild West Town, L.A Weekly, Catherine Wagley, Los Angeles, CA.
Creative Capital Awards $4,370,000 So Artists Can Finish What They Began, Artnet, Cait Munro.
13 L.A. artists awarded Creative Capital artist grants, LA Times, Carolina A. Miranda, CA

Networked Television, Artforum, Travis Diehl, online.
Artists Named for Hammer Museum’s Los Angeles Biennial, New York Times, Jori Finkel, NY.
‘Made in L.A.’ focuses on emerging artists from City of Angels, The Orange County register, Richard Chang, CA.
Art Matters:A Biennial in, and About, Los Angeles, The New York Times Style Magazine, Culture, Su Wu.
A Slice of L.A.’s Multicultural Art Scene and Rising Talent, Melanie Edmunds, Artsy, online.
Danielle Dean: My Own Multiplicities, Kcet Artbound, Drew Tewksbury, online.
Danielle Dean: Los Angeles I am Yours, Made in L.A 2014, online.
Hammer Museum’s ‘Made in L.A. 2014 draws on city’s artful bounty, L.A Times, Deborah Vankin, Front cover, CA.
“Made in LA” at Hammer Museum, Contemporary Art Daily.
How Will Michelle Papillion’s New Gallery Help Leimert Park? LA Weekly, Catherine Wagley, CA

Shagha Ariannia and Danielle Dean: PTL (Part Time Lover), Whitehot magazine, Danielle McCullough, online