Art Forum

Department of Art and Design

Art Forum is a speakers' series featuring notable artists, designers, art historians and art critics from around the world who come to campus to present their work and ideas in an open forum.  Admission is free and open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as the general public.

Past Art Forum speakers have included notables such as Chakaia Booker, Will Cotton, Aziz + Cucher, Inka Essenhigh, Judy Fox, Roxy Paine, Ursala Von Rydingsvard, and Seymour Chwast.

For further information and/or to confirm a scheduled date, call  973-655-4074.

Art Forum Speakers: Current Schedule (see below)   l  Past Schedules             

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Fall 2016 

THURSDAYS 6:30 - 8:20 p.m.
Location: Montclair State University; Calcia Hall, CA135
Open to the Public; Admission is free 

Sept 15 | Sept 22 | Sept 29 | | Oct 13 | Oct 20 | Oct 27 | Nov 3 | Nov 10 | Nov 17 | Dec 1

Learn more about Art Forum's partnership with Residency Unlimited.


Sept 8 - Introduction to course and syllabus


Sept 15 - Liliya Lifanova

Liliya Lifanova

Liliya Lifanova's (American, born in Kyrgyzstan) paintings, sculptural installations and wearables for collaborative participatory videos and performances position her practice at the intersection of fine arts and experimental theater. Lifanova's projects depend on preliminary research and collaboration, over an extended time, fused with her deep and personal engagement with physical creation and manufacture. The resulting large-scale productions communicate a sense of displacement and migration, while grappling with the sense of self. Lifanova uses stories, objects, and systems of defense and resistance as vehicles to explore the shifting, precarious, and fragile balance of dual structures: past and future, black and white, joined and divided. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently at Rooster Gallery Contemporary Art, New York, NY, World Chess Hall of Fame, Saint Louis, MO, Gridchinhall, Moscow, Russia and at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY. Lifanova received her Master of Fine Art degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been awarded the Fulbright Fellowship for Installation Art. The artist lives and works in New York.

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Sept 22 - Renate Ferro & Tim Murray

Renate Ferro & Tim Murray

Renate Ferro is a trans-media, cross-disciplinary, conceptual artist who toggles between the creative skins of old and new technologies. Her hybrid artistic projects embrace physical, social and theoretical paradigms of the body. Her digital work has received fellowships and awards from New York State Council for the Arts, Women Direct, the Experimental Television Center, and the Mellon Central New York Humanities Corridor. Most recently her work has been featured at The Freud Museum (London), Brief Histories (the United Arab Emerites), The Dorksy Gallery (NY), The Hemispheric Institute and FOMMA (Mexico), and The Janus Pannonius Museum (Hungary), Hemispheric Institute and FOMMA (San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapis, Mexico). Free University of Berlin (Berlin), Chicago City Arts (Chicago), Tsing Hua University (Beijing China), Hang Zhou Museum of Fine Arts (China), LACDA (Los Angeles), AWOL Gallery (Toronto), and numerous galleries and museums across North America. Ferro has taught at Cornell University since 2004 in the Collage of Architecture, Art and Planning in the Department of Art. She is the founding director of The Tinker Factory Lab.

Timothy Murray is Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Director of the Society for the Humanities and The Rose Goldsen Archive. The archive is located in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University Library and is named in honor of Professor Goldsen, an avant-garde critic of pop culture, mass media and communication. The collection consists of various material about audio/ sound art, eco/ bio art, exhibitions and artist compilations, installations, performance, video art and cinema. A few artists whose work can be found in the general collection are: Gary Hill, Michael Snow, Janet Cardiff, and Jennifer and Kevin McCoy. Murray and Ferro have been involved in numerous collaborations throughout the years.

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Sept 29 - Ana Peñalba 

Ana Pe

Ana Peñalba holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture and a Masters in Environmental Studies from the Polytechnic School of Madrid (ETSAM). In 2005 she co-founded the Architecture Collective Leon11, from where she cultivated her interests in collective learning methodologies and collaborative practices. Since 2012 she works mostly in research projects and self-initiated proposals exploring concerns about socio-cultural displacements, ordinary de-constructions and the relationship between spatial experiences and crowd identity. She builds open-source networks of Architectures by the re-appropriation of sounds, meanings, images, objects, and forms that imply an incessant spatial navigation within the meanderings of cultural history and behavioral social patterns. She has collaborated as an Architect Designer with Architects such as Thomas Leeser, Dominique Perrault, Andres Perea, Andres Jaque and Michael Sorkin. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art and Design at NJIT and has been invited as a guest critic to a wide number of Art and Architecture Schools. She was recently invited to be part of the "AIM Program 2016" at the Bronx Museum for the Arts and, at the Program "Open Sessions 2016-17" at the Drawing Center in NYC. You can check out her work at www.anapenalba.com.

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More fall 2016 events coming soon.


residences unlimited

Beginning Fall semester 2016, Residency Unlimited (RU) and the Art Forum Lecture Series, sponsored by the Department of Art and Design will forge an exciting collaborative initiative. Our new partnership is designed to feature notable artists, designers, art historians and art critics from around the world who come to the MSU campus to present their work and ideas in an open forum. The RU, located in Brooklyn, distinguishes itself from traditional residency programs by moving beyond the studio practice model to provide highly customized support and work collaboratively.

RU artists will give specialized lectures as part of the Art Forum speaker series led by professors Andrew Atkinson and Cathy Bebout. The course introduces students to the creative process, philosophies of art, and the role of art in life. Admission is free and open to undergraduate and graduate students as well as the general public. Past Art Forum lecturers have included notables such as Susan Sontag, Janine Antoni, Chakaia Booker, Jane Hammond, Will Cotton, Aziz + Cucher, Inka Essenhigh, Judy Fox, Roxy Paine, Ursala Von Rydingsvard, and Seymour Chwast. Other MSU invited MAM speakers include: Kiki Smith, Jeff Koons, James Rosenquist, Vik Muniz, and many others. The roster of artists for Fall 2016 combines professionals from the US and abroad who are dedicated to utilizing art as a social practice. A partial list of invited speakers includes: Architectural and environmental artist from Madrid Ana Penalba, Jamaican mural painter Leasho Johnson, Liliya Lifanova from Kyrgyzstan who creates sculptural installations and wearables and French photographer Thibault Brunet to mention only a few.

Residency Unlimited was founded in 2009 and is located in a former church in Brooklyn at 360 Court street. This is the base for many of its public programs to promote the exchange of ideas and critical dialogue. At its core, RU explores new and alternative residency formats that are tailored to meet the individual needs of local and international artists and curators with networking, production and exposure opportunities. In 2015 RU hosted residencies for 71 artists and curators including from New York. Contact Nathalie Angles at Directornathalie@residencyunlimited.org for more details about RU residencies.

For more information on Art Forum contact Dr. Andrew Atkinson, atkinsona@mail.montclair.edu or Prof. Catherine Bebout beboutc@mail.montclair.edu.


Oct 13 - Thibault Bruent

Thibault Bruent

Thibault Bruent is a virtual photographer represented by the Heinzer Reszler in Lausanne and the Binome Galery in Paris. His work plays with the codified genres in photography to question our relationship to virtuality in a society where reality as a whole is being digitalized. Shortly after graduating from the Ecole superieure des Beaux Arts in Nimes, he distinguished himself from 2008 with outstanding series based on video games. For several years, Thibault has travlled through virtual worlds with his camera. In 2012 the artist was selected for the Photo Month in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna. Hiswork is also present in prestigious collections such as the French National Livrary, and the Elysee museum. In 2014 Thibault took part in a collective project, France(s) Territoires Liquides. With his Typologie du virtuel, he selected in Google Earth buildings that were coproduced by anonymous individuals, hence shedding a light on the desire to leave a trace in the digital world. The images were exhibited at the Tri Postal museum in June 2015 and the Biennale de Lyon in September 2015. Thibault embraced a new approach and worked on the digitalization of the real world using a 3D scan. Since then, this project has been ongoing with the technological partnership of Leica for the series Territoires circonscrits, and exhibited for the first time in November 2015 at the Binome Gallery.

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Oct 20 - Andreas Savva

Andreas Savva

Andreas Savva (b.1970, Cyprus) graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he also received his MA in Digital Forms of Art. He has been included in a number of international exhibitions including 2016 Summer Exhibition, The Fields Sculpture Park, Omi International Arts Center, Ghent, New York, Action Field Kodra, Artist in Residency programme of Forum European Cultural Exchanges, Thessalonica, 2008, Seducidos polo Accidente, Luis Seoane Foundation, Corunna, Spain, 2005, BIACS 1st international Biennale of Contemporary Art of Seville, Spain, 2004, Instant Europe, Villa Manin, Centre for Contemporary art, Passariano, Italy, 2004, EUROPE EXISTS, Macedonian museum of Contemporary art, Thessalonica, 2003, DESTE Prize 2001, Deste Foundation -Center for Contemporary Art, Athens, Artists of the Spyropoulos Museum, The Foundation of the Hellenic World, Athens, Biennial of Young Artists, Rome, 1999. Selected solo shows include “Sleep Sliding Away”, EDW, ReMap4, Athens, “Martyrium”, gallery Françoise Heitsch, Munich, Germany “Kapsel” at Françoise Heitsch gallery (Munich), “Kosmos” at Cork Vision Centre (Cork/Ireland), ¥€$ at a.antonopoulou gallery, (Athens) and “Space-Eater” at Diaspro Art Centre, 1999 (Nicosia). He has received several awards, scholarships and distinctions in Greece (Spyropoulos Museum Award 1998, Heineken Art Award 1998, nominated for DESTE Prize 2001, Propontis Foundation Grant 2008-10 and others).He lives and works in Nicosia Cyprus.

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Oct 27 - Leasho Johnson

Leasho Johnson

Leasho Johnson is interested in Dancehall culture in Jamaica as a space exempt from many of the colonial and religious strictures that are considered important in mainstream Jamaican society. Through frequent visits into this urban space, Dancehall revealed itself as a space that defies gender, religious and sexual norms...a place of contradictions where queerness and homophobia can coexist, and where women empower themselves through sex. Though Dancehall and its attitudes largely define Jamaican identity in the world at large, there is still mystery and a lack of understanding of Dancehall even within local mainstream society. Johnson’s current body of work elucidates the hidden wildness behind this aspect of Jamaican culture, while attempting to process these contradictions and his own place in Jamaican society as a gay man from rural Jamaica. Johnson’s current body of work utilizes characters created (Pum-Pum), used as a parody that imitate and exaggerate the male and female gender roles found in the Jamaican Dancehall. Using imagery that is grounded in traditional realism juxtaposed with stylistic cartoons, he plays on the differences between the two styles. Johnson uses various media and formats such as Ceramics, mixed media, murals, street art, graphic design and found objects. Johnson’s work is heavily influenced by street art, toons and pop culture. He obtained a BFA at The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2009 in Visual Communication. He uses graphics to influence studio practice and development.

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Nov 3 - Eleanor Heartney

Eleanor Heartney

Eleanor Heartney is an art critic and author and has written extensively on contemporary art issues for many publications. Her books include Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads, Postmodernism, Defending Complexity: Art Politics and the New World Order, Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art, and Art and Today. She is a co-author of After the Revolution: Women who Transformed Contemporary Art, and The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium. She is past President of AICA USA, the American section of the International Art Critics Association. Her awards include the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award and the French government’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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Nov 10 - Matt Kenyon

Matt Kenyon

Matt Kenyon’s work focuses on critical themes addressing the effects of global corporate operations, mass media and communication, military-industrial complexes and general mediations on the liminal area between life and artificial life. He has been making work in this vein since 1999 using a wide range of media, including custom software, electronics and mechanical devices, often working with living organisms. Kenyon is cofounder of the artist collective SWAMP (Studies of Work Atmosphere and Mass Production). He has participated in numberous collaborations with artists, architects and technologists, including McLain Clutter, Adam Fure, Tiago Rorke and Wafaa Bilal. Kenyon’s work has been exhibited internationally and collected by such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He has received a number of awards including the distinguished FILE Prix Lux Art prize and first prize for the VIDA Art and Artificial Life International Award. Reproductions of SWAMP’s work have been featured in mainstream publications such as Coolhunting, Wired Quartz, The Huffington Post, and Gizmodo, and also appear in edited volumes such as A Touch of Code and Adversarial Design. Kenyon is a 2015 TED fellow and a MacDowell fellow. He was recently selected for Coolhunting’s CH25, a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

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Nov 17 - David Keefe

David Keefe

David Keefe is an artist, educator, activist, and administrator. David regularly practices and exhibits his paintings, papermaking, prints, and art throughout the country. For the last 4 years, he has co-developed and built Combat Paper NJ (CPNJ) into a nationally recognized and awarded program. CPNJ is a community and social practice art project that brings veterans and non-veterans together to make paper and art out of military uniforms. Ultimately, the goal is for veterans to publicly share the veteran experience, make witnesses of bystanders, and change the culture of the “silent veteran." He currently holds the position of Senior Assistant Dean for Veteran Initiatives at Columbia University’s School of General Studies. At Columbia University, Dave is in the process of developing a hub of veteran activity that will strengthen the veteran community, centralize resources, and bring in new resources, such as the arts. David is also the co-founder of a non-profit called Frontline Arts, which supports socially engaging art projects (including Combat Paper NJ) through tailored strategies and resources to connect artists with communities—mobilizing on the frontlines of contemporary social issues. For the last 7 years, David has also been an Adjunct Professor of Art at Montclair State University where he has developed the “Combat Paper for Veterans” class. The course is a veteran-only class that uses the CPNJ model of storytelling and community building - the only class of it’s kind in the country. Dave has also taught painting and various levels of independent study at MSU. Because of his own art and his work with Combat Paper NJ, he has been a visiting artist and lecturer at various Universities and Museums, a keynote speaker, featured in numerous TV shows and articles, published, featured speaker and panelist at the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery, and awarded the Krider Prize for Creativity in 2013. He is also a curator, and works on art projects and pedagogical art practices as a consultant. From 2001-2009, he served as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and from 2006-2007 he completed a tour of combat duty in Iraq as a riverine infantry scout. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Montclair State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Delaware. David works out of his studio in Montclair, NJ, alongside his artist wife, and their 4 wild and artistic kids.

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Dec 1 - Tuo Wang

Tuo Wang

Tuo Wang currently lives and works in New York. Through his performative manipulation on individuals’ lived experiences and intervention in intellectual legacies, Wang’s practice attempts to examine the unreliable relationship between the contemporary human status, myth and cultural archive. In the self-referential environments that he constructs, dramatic, often humorous as well as absurd aspects of the concept of society are exposed. Wang has recently shown at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan, TEN Multimedia Center, Tirana, Albania, Gezira Art Center, Cairo, Egypt, IMA Film Society, India, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, HVCCA, NY, Residency Unlimited, NY and NARS Foundation, NY. Tuo Wang is currently an artist-in-residence at the Queens Museum.

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