The Artist as Culture Producer: A Conversation with Morehshin Allahyari, Jean Shin, and Shinique Smith, moderated by Sharon Louden and Sara Reisman

The Artist as Culture Producer:
A Conversation with Morehshin Allahyari, Jean Shin, and Shinique Smith,
moderated by Sharon Louden and Sara Reisman

Thursday, May 11, 2017
6 to 8pm

Sharon Louden moderated a conversation with Sara Reisman, Executive and Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and artists Morehshin Allahyari, Jean Shin, and Shinique Smith, who have contributed to Louden's new book The Artist as Culture Producer. The conversation centered on questions of cultural representation as they relate to artistic production, community-building, and the artist's role in society, reflecting on issues raised by The 8th Floor's exhibition The Intersectional Self. Part of the promotional tour for The Artist as Culture Producer, the event included a book signing immediately following the panel discussion.


Morehshin Allahyari is an artist, activist, educator, and occasional curator. She is the recipient of The Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 Award by magazine Foreign Policy.

Allahyari was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her work deals with the political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day. She thinks about technology as a philosophical toolset to reflect on objects and as a poetic means to document our personal and collective lives struggles in the 21st century. She is the co-author of The 3D Additivist Cookbook in collaboration with writer/artist Daniel Rourke– (published oin December 2016 online in 3DPDF format and in print by the Institute of Networked Cultures). Her modeled, 3D-printed sculptural reconstructions of ancient artifacts destroyed by ISIS, titled Material Speculation: ISIS, have received widespread curatorial and press attention and have been exhibited worldwide.

She has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops around the world including Venice Biennale di Archittectura, Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal, Tate Modern, Queens Museum, Pori Museum, Powerhouse Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Jeu de Paume, Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, and Museum für Angewandte Kunst. Allahyari has been an Artist-in-residence at BANFF Centre (2013), Carnegie Mellon University’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (2015), Autodesk Pier9 Workshop in San Francisco (2015), and the Vilém Flusser Residency Program for Artistic Research in association with Transmediale, Berlin (2016). Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Wired, National Public Radio, Parkett Art Magazine, Frieze, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and Al Jazeera, among others.

She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Eyebeam’s one year Research Residency (2016-2017) in NYC where she is developing a new body of work on Digital Colonialism and ‘re-Figuring’ as a Feminism and de-colonialism practice, using 3D scanners and 3D printers as her tools of investigation. Researching dark goddesses, monstrous, and djinn female figures of Middle-Eastern origin, Allahyari devises a narrative through practices of magic and poetic-speculative storytelling, re-appropriation of traditional mythologies, collaging, meshing, scanning, and archiving.

Sharon Louden is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books including The Artist as Culture Producer. Louden's work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Birmingham Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and her work is held in major public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others. As an extension of her work in her studio, Louden is a Senior Critic at the New York Academy of Art in New York City where she organizes a popular lecture series, interviewing luminaries and exceptional individuals in the art world and from afar. She is also a consultant for the Joan Mitchell Foundation, advising their grantees, and conducts webinars and consultations for the Creative Capital Foundation. Louden's first book, Living and Sustaining a Creative Life is now in its seventh printing. With sales in over 18 countries, it has become Intellect Book's #1 best-selling publication two years in a row. The book has been translated into Korean, the subject of 15 podcasts and radio appearances, garnered over 45 reviews, and received more individual feedback than can be counted. Her second book, The Artist as Culture Producer, officially launched on March 2, 2017, is already in its 2nd printing. Louden is taking her books on an extensive 88+ stop international conversation tour through 2018.

Jean Shin is an artist recognized for her site-specific installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community engagement. Her work is distinguished by her labor-intensive process and immersive environments that reflect collective issues that we face as a society. Her work has been widely exhibited in major national and international museums, inclusive of solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, and Crow Collection in Dallas.

As an accomplished artist practicing in the public realm, she also realizes large-scale, site-specific permanent installations commissioned by major public agencies on the federal level (US General Services Administration) as well as local city and arts for transit programs (New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority and Percent for the Art programs, etc.). She recently completed a landmark commission for New York City MTA’s Second Avenue Subway at the 63rd Street station.

In recognition of excellence, she has received numerous awards including two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships in Architecture/Environmental Structures (2008) and Sculpture (2003), Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Art Award.  Her works and interviews have been featured in many publications including Frieze Art, Flash Art, Tema Celeste, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine,Artnews, and The New York Times.

Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the United States, Shin attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and received a BFA and MS from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She is a tenured Adjunct Professor of Fine Art at Pratt Institute. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Shinique Smith is a New York based painter and sculptor known for her monumental and exuberant creations of fabric, clothing and calligraphy inspired by intersections of memory, experience, belonging, and the vast nature of 'things’ that we consume and discard, which resonate on a personal and social scale.

She has been featured in numerous exhibitions at institutions including The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MOCA North Miami, The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Deutsche Guggenheim, New Museum, and The Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville), as well as international platforms such as the 10th Busan Biennale in Korea, the 12th Bienal de Cuenca in Ecuador, and the 9th Istanbul Biennial.

In addition to exhibiting internationally, Smith has produced large-scale public art commissions for New York Metro | Arts in Transit, The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway (Boston), UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, Mural Arts in Philadelphia, and Los Angeles Metro Transit Authority.

She has had the honor of receiving awards and fellowships from Anonymous Was a Woman (2016), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2013), the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2008), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2003) and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2003), among others.

Smith earned an MAT from Tufts University (2000), and her BFA (1992) and MFA (2003) from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she previously served on the Board of Trustees (2013-2016). As a teenager, she attended the prestigious Baltimore High School for the Arts, a formative experience which inspires her to work with youth education and art programs across the country.

Vanderbilt Press released a publication titled, Shinique Smith: Wonder and Rainbows with The Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville).

The artist is represented by David Castillo Gallery in Miami and Brand New Gallery in Milan, Italy.