Michael Britto

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Artist Statement

My work is most concerned with the misconceptions and assumptions communicated by mass media in The United States. My practice creates a platform where I can address political and cultural awareness, using the customary, as metaphor. I encourage the viewer to think about socially nurtured assumptions of blackness, poverty, youth, and the characteristics of acceptable behavior, to create a perspective that is more responsive than reactionary. By appropriating the appropriated (i.e. pop culture) and mining historical references, I believe that my messages resonate from a globally shared influence of “American” culture.

Although I produce work in digital photography, sculpture, collage and performance, video is my primary medium of choice. This practice has sustained me through my own consideration of suicide, the death of my father and the effects of my mother’s crack addiction during my teenage years. In fact, I can easily imagine The United States as a crack addicted parent: thoroughly self-interested, irresponsible and dishonest but alternately loving, supportive and gregarious. To cope with this imposed social schizophrenia, I’ve reproduced a slave narrative as a music video/ blaxploitation film mashup, re-framed the single panel comic into a marketable tote bag and transformed the political campaign button into a personal manifesto. In my world, the Klansman’s hood gets a Kente cloth makeover and the glossy pages of a women’s fashion magazine morph into collaged silhouettes of gun violence — “I learned it from watching you,” America. The significant experiences of my life, both past and present, have served as material for those creative explorations; while enhancing my role as a youth educator, which I consider an important part of my artistic practice. I understand intimately how an environment of instability and confusion can devastate; but also how these personal histories can be inspirational and serve as a touchstone for thoughtful exchange.

I was born on the 4th of July and have grown into a cult of masculinity that is one the most criminalized, envied and imprisoned groups in recent history. It’s an emotional journey. It is an intellectual journey. It is a historical journey. It is an economic journey. It is a sexual journey. It is a spiritual journey. But my practice ensures that I don’t have to travel the path alone.

CV

www.brittofied.com

EDUCATION

2000 AICP Commercial Production Training Certification, New York, NY
1999 B. A., Media and Communication Arts, Cum Laude, The City College Of New York

EXHIBITIONS

Solo Exhibitions

2014 Brown Man (A Multimedia Experience), Casita Maria, Bronx, NY
2011 This Little Word Of Mine, The Kitchen, New York, NY
2010 The Cost Of Forgetting, Taller Boricua, New York, NY
2009 Society’s Children, Smack Mellon, New York, NY
2008 In Progress: Michael Paul Britto, This Little Word Of Mine, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY
2007 Normative Behaviors: New Video By Michael Paul Britto, Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ Michael Paul Britto: Recent Works, Franklin Art Works, Minneapolis, MN

Group Exhibitions

2015
Cut N’ Mix: Contemporary Collage, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY New York
State Of Mind, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah
HerPrint, Arts East New York, Brooklyn, NY Curated by Zemen Kidane
The Griot Show, Magnet Theater, New York, NY
Respond, Smack Mellon, New York, NY

2014
I Found God In Myself, The Sol Studio, New York, NY Curated by Souleo
I Found God In Myself, Schomburg Center For Black Research, New York, NY Curated by Souleo
The Wayland Rudd Collection, First Floor Gallery, Zimbabwe, South Africa Curated by Yevgeniy Fiks
The Time Has Come, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY
The Wayland Rudd Collection, The Winkleman Gallery, New York, NY Curated by Yevgeniy Fiks

2013
30X30 – ARTCITE 30th ANNIVERSARY SHOW pt 2, Windsor, ON Silhouette, The Elizabeth Foundation For The Arts, New York, NY
In The Realm Of Dreams, Longwood Arts Gallery, Bronx, NY
Network Of Mutuality: 50 Years Post-Birmingham, The Art Gallery University Of Maryland, College Park, MD

2012
Art In Odd Places, New York, New York The Good American, Underline Gallery, New York, NY

2011
Converging Voices, Transforming Dialogue Selections from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection, University Museum at Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas
Eight Arts Respond To Born Again, Longwood Arts Gallery, Bronx, NY
If There’s No Dancing At The Revolution I’m Not Coming, Recess Activities, New York, NY
Shame The Devil, The Kitchen, New York, NY
Identity Cinema: Volume One, Jones Hall Gallery, University Of Memphis, Memphis, TN
Manifesta 8 Flashback, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Alexandria, Egypt

2010
Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain Michael Jackson 2004, Recess Activities, New York, NY
Round The Mulberry Bush, Curated by Alyssa Fridgen, NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, NY
In the City: Memory, Places and Spaces, Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY
Ordinary Occurrences Curated by Deborah Cullen, PULSE Play 2010, New York, NY
Searching For The Heart Of Black Identity, Kentucky Museum Of Art And Craft, Louisville, Kentucky

2009
Song Show, The Artlab, John Labatts Visual Arts Centre, The University Of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
Power Cinema, Power House, Memphis, TN
One Size Fits All, On Stellar Rays, New York, NY Emerge10, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art , Newark, NJ
Michael, Carlos, Diane, Gallery 35, New York, NY
Racism: An American Family Value, Center For Book Arts, New York, NY
Freedom Fighters: An American Legend Re-Imagined, Art Center, South Florida
State Of The Art New York, Urbis, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, England
Accept With Pleasure, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York, NY
Black Popular Culture As Source, Paul Robeson Center For Arts, Princeton, NJ

2008
Exploding Language: Mining The Black Arts Movement, Minneapolis MN
Barewalls, No Boundaries, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT
The Blue Print, From The Ground Up., Apexart, New York , NY
Disinhibition: Black Art and Blue Humor, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL (Curated by Blake Bradford)
HOMEBASE III – Site Specific Public Art Project, Harlem, New York

2007
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Von Lintel Gallery, New York, NY
INFINITU ET CONTINI: Repeated Histories, Reinvented Resistances, Smack Mellon, New York, NY
In The Country Of Last Refuge, Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ
ALT.PICTURESHOWS ’07, Museum Of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA
Scanners – NY Film Festival At Lincoln Center, New York, NY
Not Your Parents MTV: Music Videos From Hell, Postmasters Gallery, New York, NY
“Will The Real…” Video & Objects, FiveMyles, Brooklyn, NY
Don’t Get It Twisted, ApexArt. New York, NY
Uncomfortable Truths – The Shadow Of Slave Trading On Contemporary Art & Design, Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London
Beauty Shop, Soul Gallery, Miami, Florida

2006
Black Alphabet – Contexts of Contemporary African American Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland (curated by Maria Brewinska)
Contemporary Project Series 2006, The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis. MO
AIM 26, Bronx Museum, New York, NY
Black Panther Rank & File, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
S-Files, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
The Whole World Is Rotten, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH

2005
Frequency, Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY S-Files, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY
Multiplex, The Soap Factory, Minneapolis MN
Art’s Reflection Has No Complexion, Artist Space, New York, NY
The Freedom Fighters Project, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY

2004
The Art Palace Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Homecoming II, Rush Arts / Phat Farm Store, New York, NY
Veni Vidi Video II, Studio Museum In Harlem, New York, NY

2002
Photofest 2002 New Media, Diverseworks, Houston, TX

2001
It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY
The Politics Of Racism, The Lowe Gallery, Hudson Guild, New York, NY

2000
Artist Interview, Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY

GRANTS / AWARDS / HONORS

2014 Casita Maria Performing Arts Residency
2012 BRIO AWARD
2009 Franklin Furnace Fund Grant
2006 Re:New Media Grant, New York, NY
2005 Rockefeller Foundation, Media Arts Fellowship Grant
2004 New York State Council On The Arts, Individual Artist Grant

ARTIST RESIDENCIES
2014 Casita Maria, Artist Residency Program, Bronx, NY
2009-10 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program, New York, NY
2008-09 Marie Walsh Sharpe, The Space Program, Brooklyn, NY
2008 In Progress, Artist Residency Program, New York, NY
2007-08 Smack Mellon, Artist Residency Program, Brooklyn, NY
2007 Longwood Arts Project, Digital Matrix Commission, Bronx NY
2005 Artist in the Marketplace, Bronx Museum, NY
2002 Film/Video Arts, Artist Mentor Program, Mentor Thomas Allen Harris, NY
2001-02 New Museum of Contemporary Art, Visual Knowledge Program, Artist/Instructor

PUBLICATIONS/REVIEWS/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Antoszek, Andrzej, “Czarno na biatym Afroamerykanie, ktorzy poruszyli Ameryke” Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Warszawa 2009

Diack, Heather “Sign Language As Politics” Entrepreneur.com March-April, 2008

Bonetti, David “Larry Krone/Janaina Tschape/Michael Paul Britto” St. Louis Post-Dispatch September 2006

Valdez, Sarah “Bling And Beyond” Art In America, April 2006, No. 4

Schwendener, Martha “Color Field” Time Out New York, February 23 – March 1, 2006, Issue 543

Stillman, Nick. “Frequency” The Brooklyn Rail, February 2006

Brockington, Horace, “Wavelength” NYARTS, March/April 2006, Vol. 11. No.3/4

Smith, Roberta, “Where Issues Of Black Identity Meet The Concerns Of Every Artist” The New York Times, November 2005

Cotter, Holland, “Latino Art, And Beyond Category” The New York Times, September 2005

Moynihan, Colin, “City of a Thousand Handshakes; Tiger Claw or the 1-4-5? Depends on Where You Live” The New York Times, May 2004