Spring 2019 Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series


In Spring 2018, the UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series will feature artists Laurie PalmerMorehshin AllahyariRhonda HolbertonHaroon MirzaRashaad Newsome and Nicki Green.

Since 1998, the Wiesenfeld Visiting Artist Lecture Series has provided an opportunity for students and members of the community to learn about the work of renowned contemporary artists from the local, national, and international arts communities.

All lectures are FREE and open to the public!

Laurie Palmer, “Public Sun.”


Laurie Palmer – Public Sun

6:30 – 8pm, Wednesday, March 13th

Room 285, Kroeber Hall

This talk traces connections between oil, the sun, and distributed forms of power by discussing three in-process projects: a large-scale model of California, a book on lichen, and a public tribunal charging private property for crimes against the common.

Laurie Palmer ’s place-based work takes form as sculpture, public projects, and writing, and she collaborates on strategic actions in the contexts of social and environmental justice. Her book In the Aura of a Hole: Exploring Sites of Material Extraction (2014) investigates what happens to places where materials are removed from the ground, and how these materials, once liberated, move between the earth and our bodies. She is currently researching the shapes and structures of underground oil shale formations and continuing to develop work on The Lichen Museum, a massively distributed, inside-out institution that considers this slow, resistant, adaptive and collective organism as an anti-capitalist companion and climate change survivor.


Morehshin Allahyari, “The 3D Additivist Cookbook.”


Morehshin Allahyari – On Digital Colonialism and ‘Other’ Futures

6:30 – 8pm, Monday, March 18th

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Theater

Presented in partnership with the Department of Art Practice Wiesenfeld Lecture Series, the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and Stanford University and in collaboration with the Berkeley Arts and Design initiative as part of A+D Mondays @ BAMPFA by Berkeley Arts + Design as part of Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA.

For her talk Morehshin Allahyari will discuss some of her previous projects focused on topics such as 3D fabrication, activism, digital colonialism, monstrosity and fabulation. She will use this talk as a platform to show the possibilities of art-making beyond aesthetics or visualization. She will posit and contextualize “a position outside” that asks difficult questions and suggests alternative methods.

Morehshin Allahyari (b. 1985 in Tehran, Iran) is a media artist, activist, educator, and curator who uses computer modeling, 3D scanning and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. Inspired by concepts of collective archiving, memory, and cultural contradiction, Allahyari’s 3D printed sculptures and videos challenge social and gender norms. “I want my work to respond to, resist and criticize the current political and cultural situation that we experience on a daily basis,” she explains.

She is developing a new body of work on digital colonialism and ‘re-figuring’ as a feminist and de-colonialist practice, titled She Who Sees the Unknown. Researching female monsters, jinn and dark goddesses of Middle-Eastern origin, Allahyari devises narratives through practices of magic and poetic-speculative storytelling, re-appropriation of traditional mythologies, collaging, meshing, scanning, and archiving. Continued development of the project is supported by a joint commission from The Whitney Museum of Art, Liverpool Biennale, and FACT, as well as a 2018 Rhizome Commission.

Allahyari is currently an artist in residence at Pioneer Works in New York. Recent accolades include a research residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center (2016-17), a sculpture award from the Institute of Digital Art (2016), and Foreign Policy Magazine named her a Leading Global Thinker of 2016. Other outlets featuring her work include Huffington Post, Wired, NPR, National Geographic, Rhizome, Hyperallergic and Dazed Digital. Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops at venues throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Venice Biennale di Archittectura; Pori Museum, Finland and Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Germany. Allahyari received her MFA at the University of North Texas, MA at University of Denver and her BA at the University of Tehran, Iran. She is co-creator of the 3D Additivist Manifesto and subsequent 3D Additivist Cookbook.


Rhonda Holberton, “Lilium Candidum, Rosa ‘Madame A. Meilland’, Alstroemeria (Night I&II), 2017.


Rhonda Holberton – A Body Without Borders

6:30 – 8pm, Monday April 1st

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive Theater

This event is being organized in collaboration with the Department of Art Practice Wiesenfeld Lecture Series, the Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium, and the Berkeley Arts and Design initiative as part of A+D Mondays @ BAMPFA by Berkeley Arts + Design as part of Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA.

Rhonda Holberton’s interdisciplinary art practice illuminates the politics of the corporeal body navigating through virtual space. In this presentation Holberton will discuss her recent projects utilizing networked VR designed to trigger subtle interactions of electrons between biological and digital systems, a speculative cosmetic company whose mission is focused on the potential of products to create distributed performative action, and collaborative image making with Neural Networks.

We are living through a crisis of reality. Recent elections across the globe revealed many people living in parallel, but rarely overlapping, realities. Today, ubiquitous screens mediate bodily experiences of the physical world.  In turn, we are beginning to see digital content shaping material reality. Technologies to deliver Augmented & Virtual Reality (VR) will soon become as common as smartphones are today. At the same time, the material environment and physical bodies living within it are approaching a critical moment of climate-induced destabilization that can only be mitigated by collective action. If VR can create a situation in which the user’s entire environment is determined by the creators of the virtual world, then it is imperative that the creators of digital worlds take into account the collective needs of the physical one.

The solutions to existential problems must come from existential analysis. Broadly speaking, the fields of design and engineering are really good at solving problems.  These disciplines are rooted in the figuring out of ‘Can we’ and ‘How to.’ Great engineers can anticipate the ways a project could fail technically. Art on the other hand, is particularly good at asking questions; addressing what if rather than how to. Questions like; Should we? What are all the ways this project could cause failures in other places if it is successful?  What are other Models? What does it look like if…? Great art expands the perimeter of the possible. Holberton’s work utilizes materials and platforms that physically connect human bodies through technology, highlighting they ways signals of digitally engineered worlds have physical ramifications; how the extraction of materials from the environment that support technology are destabilizing the plant; and how we might write better rules for digital platforms that consider the external effects on all bodies and respect the most vulnerable ones.

Rhonda Holberton holds an MFA from Stanford University (2012) and a BFA from CCA (2007). Her multimedia installations make use of digital and interactive technologies integrated into traditional methods of art production.  In 2014 Holberton was a CAMAC Artist in Residence at Marnay-sur-Seine, France, and she was awarded a Fondation Ténot Fellowship, Paris. Her work is included in the collection of SFMoMA and the McEvoy Foundation and has been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; Contemporary Jewish Museum (SF); Transfer Gallery (NYC), CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, FIFI Projects Mexico City; San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art; and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Holberton taught experimental media at Stanford University from 2015-2017 and is is currently Assistant Professor of Digital Media at San Jose State University . She lives and works in Oakland.


Haroon Mirza, “Fear of the Unknown remix”, 2017. Installation view at Lisson Gallery, New York


Haroon MirzaThe Creative Repercussions of Counterculture

5:30 – 7pm, Wednesday, April 3rd

Geballe Room, Townsend Center, 220 Stephens Hall

This event is being organized in partnership with the Department of Art Practice Wiesenfeld Lecture Series, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Institute of South Asian Studies, and the Asian Art Museum.

Haroon Mirza will examine how ideas seeded in the counterculture movement of the 1960s are now solidifying in contemporary culture and the influence that has had on his work. A London-based artist with a diverse multimedia practice, Mirza will touch on subjects that resonate with his broad interest in the creative history of the Bay Area including computing and AI, psychedelics research, pacifism, anti-capitalism, human rights and spirituality.

Haroon Mirza has won international acclaim for installations that test the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current. He devises kinetic sculptures, performances and immersive installations, such as The National Apavillion of Then and Now (2011) – an anechoic chamber with a circle of light that grows brighter in response to increasing drone, and completely dark when there is silence. An advocate of interference (in the sense of electro-acoustic or radio disruption), he creates situations that purposefully cross wires. He describes his role as a composer, manipulating electricity, a live, invisible and volatile phenomenon, to make it dance to a different tune and calling on instruments as varied as household electronics, vinyl and turntables, LEDs, furniture, video footage and existing artworks to behave differently. Processes are left exposed and sounds occupy space in an unruly way, testing codes of conduct and charging the atmosphere. Mirza asks us to reconsider the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music, and draws into question the categorisation of cultural forms. “All music is organised sound or organised noise,” he says. “So as long as you’re organising acoustic material, it’s just the perception and the context that defines it as music or noise or sound or just a nuisance” (2013).

Haroon Mirza was born in London, UK in 1977 where he lives and works. He has a BA in Painting from Winchester School of Art, an MA in Design Critical Practice and Theory from Goldsmiths College, London, UK (2006) and an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK (2007). Recent solo exhibitions include ‘ããã’, Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil (2016); Nam June Paik Center, South Korea (2015); Matadero, Madrid, Spain (2015); Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland (2015); Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2014); Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, Poissy, France (2014); IMMA, Dublin, Ireland (2014); Le Grand Café, Saint-Nazaire, France (2014); The Hepworth, Wakefield, UK (2013); MIMA, Middlesbrough, UK (2013); The New Museum, New York, USA (2012); Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland (2012); University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, USA (2012); Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2011) and A-Foundation, Liverpool, UK (2009). His work was included in the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China (2012) and the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011), where he was awarded the Silver Lion. He was awarded the Northern Art Prize in 2011, the DAIWA Foundation Art Prize in 2012, the Zurich Art Prize in 2013, the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize in 2014 and the Calder Art Prize in 2015.

Haroon Mirza’s practice draws on his interest in many fields including music, art, design, science, engineering, philosophy, and politics. His installations offer modified environments composed of found objects arranged in simple, elegant compositions that incorporate sound and touch to create an immersive escape from the everyday world. For the installation in the next room, he uses Marshall cabinet speakers to reference eclectic musical influences, from the Sufi devotional music gatherings at his parents’ home to pop and electronica on the airwaves and on his father’s mixtapes. Mirza’s interest in technology and sound was further influenced by twentieth-century composers such as Edgar Varèse and Max Neuhaus, who experimented in dissonance and electronic music.


Rashad Newsome, “Through The Looking Glass”, 2017. Collage on paper, 68 x 68 x 4 in.


Rashaad Newsome – Black Magic

6:30 – 8pm, Monday, April 22

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

This event is being organized in collaboration with the Department of Art Practice Wiesenfeld Lecture Series and the Berkeley Arts and Design initiative as part of A+D Mondays @ BAMPFA by Berkeley Arts + Design as part of Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA.

Newsome’s work is deeply invested in how images used in media and popular culture communicate distorted notions of power. He draws attention to the contributions that marginalized communities, whose culture is often absorbed and co-opted by mainstream advertising platforms, have made to Pop culture and society in general. Through his visually engaging and truly interdisciplinary work, Newsome explores the complexities of social power structures and questions of agency. During his talk, Newsome will discuss his use of the diasporic tradition of improvisation and collage as a tool to achieve abstraction. At the heart of his practice is the tenacity and resilience of marginalized communities to create globally celebrated cultural productions, despite living within what scholar bells hooks names the capitalist, imperialist, white supremacist, patriarchy. His work speaks to the power of the human spirit to reinvent and transform itself as evidenced in the Black and Queer cultural practices referenced and abstracted throughout the work.

Rashaad Newsome is a multidisciplinary artist whose work blends several practices together including collage, sculpture, film, music, computer programming, and performance, to form an altogether new field. He pulls intuitively from the world of advertising, the Internet Black and Queer culture to produce counterhegemonic works that use the diasporic traditions of improvisation and collage, to craft compositions that walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice, and abstraction.

Newsome lives and works in New York City. He was born in 1979 in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he received a BFA in Art History at Tulane University in 2001. In 2004, he received a certificate of study in Digital Post Production from Film/Video Arts Inc. (NYC). In 2005 he studied MAX/MSP Programming at Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center (NYC). He has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals throughout the world including: The Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), The National Museum of African American History and Culture (DC), The Whitney Museum (NYC), Brooklyn Museum (NYC), MoMAPS1 (NYC), SFMOMA (CA), New Orleans Museum of Art (LA), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (Moscow), and MUSA (Vienna).  Newsome’s work is in numerous public collections including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), The Brooklyn Museum of Art (NYC), The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, McNay Art Museum (TX), The Chazen Museum of Art (WI), and The New Britain Museum of American Art (CT). In 2010 he participated in the Whitney Biennial (NYC), and in 2011 Greater New York at MoMAPS1 (NYC). His many honors and awards for his work include a 2018 William Penn Foundation Grant, the 2018/2019 Live Feed Creative Residency at New York Live Arts, a 2017/2018 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a 2017 Rush Arts Gold Rush Award, the 2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Tamarind Institute, NM, the 2014 Headlands Center for the Arts Visiting Artist Residency, a 2011 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, a 2010 Urban Artist Initiative Individual Artist Grant, and a 2009 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Arts Grant.


Nicki Green, “Texture Study (gills)”, 2018. Glazed stoneware. 17″ x 17″ x 3″.

Nicki Green – Art Practice recipient of the 2018 Sam Francis Fellowship and Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellow

6:30 – 8pm, Wednesday, April 24th

Room 285, Kroeber Hall

Nicki Green is a transdisciplinary artist living and making work in the Bay Area. Originally from New England, she completed her BFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 and her MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2018. Her work focuses on craft processes, and her sculptures, ritual objects and various flat works explore topics of history preservation, conceptual ornamentation and aesthetics of otherness.

Nicki has exhibited her work internationally, notably at the New Museum in New York, The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and Broken Dimanche Press in Berlin, Germany. She has contributed texts to numerous publications including Maximum Rock n Roll, San Francisco and Fermenting Feminism, Copenhagen. She is currently the UC Berkeley Art Practice Graduate Fellow at the Headlands Center of the Arts and has just returned from an Arts/Industry residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI where she studied bathroom appliance design and its relationship to gender, theology and queer liberation.


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