Devin Kenny

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What Is My Work About? The issues I have worked to address in my work over the past three years have been how a hyper-mediated environment changes the way we envision ourselves, and also how we connect with others. I examine this with a special attention paid to how the process of identity-formation changes with increased access to telecommunications technologies, especially for members of communities that previously have been denied modes of representation that are nuanced, complex, or self-directed. Often the site for this research is online, where I first became involved with subcultural activities like graffiti, skateboarding, and zine-making. I have shifted from focusing on what it means for the previously counter-cultural to become part of dominant culture, into considering the material resonances and ramifications of what is often positioned as ephemeral and ever-changing such as the Internet, and ‘the cloud’.

 

Artist Statement

Currently my artistic research is most concerned with the ways that the hyper-mediated landscape available since the “Web 2.0” era has changed how one envisions the self and connects to others. Since art also functions as a medium for communication, expression, and connection, examining it along with other modes of cultural production with these changes in mind has been important for me. Avant-gardes throughout history: from Dadaists’ and Surrealists’ use of burgeoning mass media– such as newspapers and film, to Fluxus experiments with television, to Allan Kaprow and others’ Happenings, show that artists have regularly examined the role of mass culture in identity construction. More recent examples include the interventions of Gran Fury, Black Audio Film Collective, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Andrea Fraser and more. These artists take up a charge proposed by Frankfurt School theorist Walter Benjamin, to embrace the technology of the contemporary moment and use it in a critical manner, and I with my visual art, curatorial practice, music, writing, and other modes seek to push this kind of work.

In 2011, I organized an exhibition at the Grunwald Center for Graphic Arts: Hammer Museum entitled “Learning Karate from a PDF”. The show explored the artist multiple, printed ephemera, and works of art using or referencing mass production technologies, namely, the way that art traditionally takes up defunct or obscure equipment, materials, and technology and uses it for other ends. Currently, I am organizing an online show hosted by my friend, peer, and occasional collaborator Lindsay August-Salazar, organizer of the 3 Days Awake artist run space in Los Angeles. That exhibition, tentatively titled “Expansion Foam” centers on women-led sculpture, expanded photography, and internet-based art practices, with special attention to articulations of space, community, and self-actualization online, particularly in the wake of female net artists having their work misappropriated by canonized figures like Richard Prince, and others. I mention these two shows as examples of other ways my interests and values are articulated in tandem with art practice. My work is not that of a technophile, nor is it accelerationist, but it is searching for ways in which the tools we use tell us about ourselves. The work also seeks out ways that the tools at hand can be used to support, educate, challenge, and enrich others, whether it is an interactive technology, a static object, or ephemeral experience.

Through my art practice, I acknowledge my primary frame, which grows from my experience as a young black male from the south side of Chicago. I grew up at a juncture between middle-class and impoverished communities, between deep contemporary segregation and great diversity. I would cross numerous boundaries via bus and train regularly to attend a magnet high school (where I was one of the few “underprivileged” kids) on the Gold Coast of the city. This experience as an adolescent was a spark. Rifts in culture and opportunity based on class, race, gender, and orientation, are definitely real, yet there are also instances where values transcend geography, economy, and physiognomy, and these are some of the instances on which I strive to focus. They are instances without which I would not be an artist. They are instances that occur more often than we are immediately aware, and so special attention must be taken. During my educational experience at Cooper Union and UCLA, I gained access to important spaces and the time to become aware of disparate philosophies, to find through-lines, determine and defend differences in approach. Research is a significant component of my practice, and is something that continues wherever I am, but the venues for sharing findings vary, and I work to have them extend into margins as well as centers and hubs.

With the awareness I gained in educational institutions, I began building the foundation for my own interdisciplinary art practice. Now I aim to facilitate the process of drawing ideological, emotional, and even social connections for an audience, to bring seemingly disparate communities into conversation. As a person who has experienced many things beyond what others coming from a similar background have experienced, I feel a responsibility to not just tell the story, but to “pay it forward” in the work I do.

 

CV

EDUCATION | RESIDENCIES
2013-2014
Whitney Independent Study Program
New York, NY
2013
SOMA
Mexico City, Mexico
2011-13
UCLA
Master of Fine Arts
2009
Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
2009-2005
Cooper Union for the Adv. Of Science and Art
Bachelor of Fine Arts
2008
Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Voorheen Audiovisuel Program)

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2014 “tl;dr” curated by Michael Ned Holte Artspace Auckland, New Zealand

2014 “Made In LA” Biennial curated by Connie Butler, Michael Ned Holte
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA

2014 “Blacking the Internet” curated by Joygill Moriah Culturefix New York, NY

2014 “f_k_u”. at Kravets Wehby Gallery curated by Victoria Duffee New York, NY

2014 Whitney Independent Study Program Show Temp, New York, NY

2013 “Cisco, Sysco, Sisqo” curated by Tom Simon, Alina Tenser and Kristof Wickman
The Rockaways, NY

2013 “Untitled” at Biquini Wax curated by Cristobal Gracia Mexico City, Mexico
2012 “Alpaca”: Figure, Form, and Abstraction curated by Lindsay August-Salazar Paris, FR | Berlin, DE | 1k projectspace Amsterdam, NL
2012 “Brand Innovations for Ubiquitous Authorship” curated by Artie Vierkant Higher Pictures Gallery New York, NY
2012 “Data Trash” curated by Chris Dorland I-20 Gallery New York, NY
2012 “Optotype” curated by Gabriela Salazar and Lucas Blalock 92Y New York, NY
2011 “Videoween” Control Room curated by William Kaminski Los Angeles,CA
2011 “Permanent Vacation” The Educational Alliance curated by Audrey Hope 197 E. Broadway, NYC
2011 “Salon 4” at Szechuan Best curated by Peggy Chiang and Max Guy Baltimore, MD
2010 “Brucennial: Miseducation” curated by BHQF and Vito Schnabel 350 West Broadway NYC
2010 “QVNOXW” curated by Scott Keightley at 86 Forsyth NYC

SELECTED PERFORMANCES/LECTURES
2014 “Time flows through my hands like silica sand” at Artspace Auckland, New Zealand

2014 Jung Money at REDCAT Los Angeles, CA

2014 “In The Cloud/On The Ground” Hammer Museum Los Angeles, CA

2014 “FTFYOLO” conversation with Micol Hebron on KCHUNG Radio/Ooga Booga, Los Angeles, CA

2013 “Printing The Internet” at Labor Mexico City, Mexico

2013 “Punks jump up to get down: Hiphop, Neoliberalism, and Education” at Bruce High Quality Foundation University, NYC
2013 “Homage to the boys in Blue.” “Blueologies” curated by Spencer Gauthier Sunview Luncheonette Brooklyn, NY
2013 “Golden” “the Privilege Show”, curated by William Kaminski,Evelena Ruether Control Room.
Los Angeles, CA
2012 1 image 1 minute with Micol Hebron at For Your Art Los Angeles, CA
2012 SEXUAL with EJ Hill and Jonathan Apgar ATX Crossing Los Angeles, CA
2012 19 Days at Raid Projects, curated by Molly Shea Los Angeles, CA

2012 Devin KKenny at Everything Must Go! Radio show by Keith Rocka Knittel KCHUNG Los Angeles, CA
2011 Devin KKenny at Freak City (part of Swag The F*ck Out, curated by K. Knittel), Hollywood, CA
2011 Devin Kenny reciting ee cummings at Poetry Foundation, Chicago IL
2011 Devin KKenny at Recess, curated by Simone Leigh and Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich
2011 Devin KKenny at the New School of Design for Photofeast
2011 Studio Workout Vol. 1 at The Cove, Brooklyn NY
2010 Devin KKenny at Beauty Bar, Chicago IL
2010 Photo Feast! at ISCP,Brooklyn NY
2010 Devin KKenny at Like The Spice Gallery, for Chino Amobi with Diamond Black Hearted Boy, Ghetto Caviar and Follower Brooklyn NY
2010 Devin KKenny at Swarthmore College PA
2010 Devin KKenny at Don Pedro’s, Brooklyn NY
2010 A fissure! at Santo’s Party House NYC
2010 Sunday Brunch Concert Series at 1439 Myrtle Ave. Brooklyn, NY
2010 Belle of the Ball at Plaza Hotel curated by Jacob Gossett NYC
2010 Sculpture Storage at La Mama Galleria NYC

CURATORIAL
2014 “Expansion Foam” 3 Days Awake Los Angeles, CA

2012 “Learning Karate from a PDF” Grunwald Center/Hammer Museum Los Angeles, CA
2012 “superpositions: the New Wight Biennial” with Lucas Blalock, Jonathan Apgar, and Sean Raspet
Broad Art Center at UCLA, Wight Gallery Los Angeles, CA
2012 “CAA Media Lounge” with Dylan Mira and EJ Hill Los Angeles, CA
2006 “Lo-Fine” with Alana Fitzgerald Great Hall Gallery, Cooper Union, New York, NY

TEXTS/PUBLICATION
-Apogee Journal #4 edited by Chris Prioleau and Legacy Russell

-Summer 2014 issue of Los Angeles Review of Books interviewed by Lainey Racah
– Baumtest Quarterly issue 3 edited by Emily Kuriyama, Iris Hu, and Christine Haroutounian

-Capricious #12: Protest edited by Emily Roysdon 2012
-Guest writer for Megazine issue 2 editors: Maren Miller, Loren Kramar, and Daniele Frazier
-text for The Hand Presents: Public Sculpture edited by Maren Miller August 2011
-text for Swag the Fuck Out edited by Keith R. Knittel September 2011
-“‘Cause I look like a cloud” July 2011 pooool edited by Louis Doulas

TEACHING

2013 Teaching Assistant for David Robbins: Art & Entertainment (graduate), UCLA

2012 Teaching Assistant for Andrea Fraser: Beginning New Genres (undergraduate), UCLA

. Teaching Assistant for Andrea Fraser: Field of Art (graduate), UCLA

2011 Teaching Assistant for Erika Vogt: Advanced New Genres (undergraduate), UCLA

PRESS
Reading Habits and Practices
http://eyecontactsite.com/2014/10/reading-habits-and-practices
Hammer Museum’s ‘Made in L.A. 2014’ draws on city’s artful bounty http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-hammer-made-in-la-artists-20140219,0,7803067.story#ixzz2xbYH55bz
By Deborah Vankin Feb. 19,2014 Los Angeles Times
http://hammer.ucla.edu/blog/2014/07/3-questions-with-devin-kenny/
http://www.laimyours.com/67633/made-in-l-a-18-35-devin-kinney/
The Ghost in Gallery Five by Jessica Bellamy
http://hammer.ucla.edu/blog/2014/07/the-ghost-in-gallery-five/
Bomblog twitter chat with Legacy Russell
http://bombsite.com/articles/6608
http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/20804/1/rap-memes-and-captcha-elevated-to-performance-art
http://www.whybluematters.com/?p=1788/
http://masterdabblers.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/graduation-mixtape-with-artist-devin-kenny/
Slow Content interview with Devin Kenny by Brad Troemel
http://devinkenny.info/Slow-Content-Interview-by-Brad-Troemel
Contemporary Art, Lil Wayne and Magic
http://bushwickbk.com/2009/08/25/contemporary-art-lilwayne-magic/