Say I Am @ Plug Projects, Kansas City

lauren frances adams

Say I Am: Lauren Frances Adams, Caroline Wells Chandler, Pixy Liao, and Yvonne Osei
September 16 – Ocotber 29, 2016
Opening reception, September 16, 6-9pm

PLUG Projects presents Say I Am, an exhibition featuring the work of Lauren Frances Adams, Caroline Wells Chandler, Pixy Liao, and Yvonne Osei. These artists address agency and challenge assumptions within a historically patriarchal heteronormative structure. Providing a contrast to the dominant landscape, deviations from expected gendered, cultural, or racial narratives are presented. Whether speaking from one’s experience or for an individual’s right to self determinism, each artist lends a transgressive hand to support new ways of thinking.


Lauren Frances Adams earned her BFA at UNC-Chapel Hill, and completed her MFA in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. She lives and works in Baltimore. She has exhibited at Nymans House National Trust (Sussex, England), The Walters Museum (MD), The Mattress Factory (PA), and Smack Mellon (NY). She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has held residencies at the Cite in Paris and the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil. She is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award, and a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. Her work has been reviewed in Frieze Magazine, The Baltimore Sun, Artslant, and Hyperallergic. Lauren is a founding member of Ortega y Gasset Projects, a project space in New York.

Caroline Wells Chandler’s brightly colored hand-crocheted works explore notions of queerness and sexuality as well as the art historical canon. His characters are radically queer, and his representations of gender declare queerness as the normative state. Chandler completed his foundation studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and received his BFA cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 2007. He has shown at numerous institutions including: Roberto Paradise (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Lord Ludd (PA), Art League Houston (TX), Zurcher Studio (NY), Field Projects (NY), Vox Populi (PA), Sanctuary (PA), N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art (MI), Open Gallery (TN), and the Stieglitz Museum (‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands) among others. Chandler is a 2011 MFA recipient in painting at the Yale School of Art where he was awarded the Ralph Mayer Prize for proficiency in materials and techniques. He lives and works in New York.

Pixy Liao was born and raised in Shanghai, China and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship in photography, En Foco’s New Works Fellowship and LensCulture Exposure Awards, etc,. She has done artist residencies at Pioneer Works, Light Work, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Center for Photography at Woodstock, and Camera Club of New York. Liao’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Asia Society (Houston), Flower Gallery (NY), First Draft Gallery (Sydney), VT Artsalon (Taiwan), Kips Gallery (Korea), The Running Horse Contemporary Art Space (Lebanon), Format (UK), Noorderlicht (Netherland), etc. Liao holds a MFA in photography from University of Memphis.

Yvonne Osei is a German-born Ghanaian artist living in the United States who is hyperaware of her hybridity. She describes herself as an outsider artist making insider art, referencing her West African roots while acknowledging her close to six years living in St. Louis, Missouri.

About the Project:

Anatomy of Style in New France: Louis XV/Code Noir

Printed vinyl and three individual paintings (gouache and acrylic on paper, 2014)


Project Statement:

New France was the name of the territory stretching from New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico up the Mississippi River (including parts of Kansas and Missouri) to Canada during the French colonial period (16th-18th centuries). Louis XV was the king of France during this later period, and in 1724 at the age of 13, he signed into effect the second version of the Code Noir. This ‘black code’ consolidated the French legal framework concerning slavery in North America, restricting the rights of enslaved and free blacks and outlining the religious entitlements of all French subjects. The painted texts in the wallpaper are from this regulatory decree. The pixelated objects depicted in the wallpaper are from the Nelson-Atkins Museum collection of Louis XV style furniture, objects created in a style once popular in France and roughly concurrent with this later era of French trade and settlement in Illinois Country / Upper Louisiana. Collapsing ornament and oppression, the Code Noir textual extracts combined with archival evidence of the monarchy’s finest furnishings offer an acute contrast concerning an important period in the history of Missouri.

Positioned on the background image and hanging as if slightly askew in a genuine and grand domestic space are three paintings from my ongoing series, Decorum. Decorum is an incomplete but growing index of the histories of enslaved people from antiquity to the present. Decorative and textual sources trace the complex structures that surround labor and power inequalities. My sources are frequently found in museum collections, where the museum acts as both witness and author. Archival remnants of slave narratives, ornament, and my own personal inquiries constitute an open-ended process of asking how the decorative arts participate, either actively or silently, in promoting or reflecting dominant ideologies of social hierarchy, political authority, and cultural fantasy.

Brutality Garden at Mount St. Mary’s University

Balagandan Moon, gouache on paper, 24″ x 30″, 2016

Brutality Garden is a solo exhibition by Lauren Frances Adams of recent works on paper from the Netherlands and Brazil. The works on display originate from residencies the artist made in Rotterdam and Salvador in 2015 and 2016. Investigating Dutch and Portuguese empire, as evinced in the collections of major museums (like the Mauritshuis in Den Haag and Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, as well as Museu Carlos Costa Pinto in Salvador), these paintings sample from a variety of European golden age painting in the age of colonial exploration. Images from domestic life and nature, such as tile, fruits, and birds, contrasts with the fancy fashion of enslaved Brasiliens and the porcelain of the upper classes. Subjects explored include the desirable pineapple as a colonial vector fruit, azulejos (blue tile) as a theater for dramatic political allegory, and dinnerware ornamentation of the Portuguese bourgeoisie in light of brutal provincial social hierarchies. Many of the artworks reference the cultural tension between historical colonial ambition and contemporary post-colonial reality.

The exhibition is on view from September 6 – October 6, 2016 in the Delaplaine Fine Arts Center at Mount St. Mary’s University.

Trawick Prize

The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards is a visual art prize produced by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District that honors artists from Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. The annual juried competition awards $14,000 in prize monies to selected artists and features the work of the finalists in a group exhibition.

2016 Trawick Prize Finalists
Lauren Frances Adams, Baltimore, MD
Cindy Cheng, Baltimore, MD
Leah Cooper, Baltimore, MD
Sarah Irvin, Springfield, VA
Dean Kessmann, Washington, D.C.
Ben Marcin, Baltimore, MD
Tony Shore, Baltimore, MD
William Wylie, Charlottesville, VA

The 2016 competition will be juried by Stéphane Aquin (Chief Curator Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden),
Hasan Elahi (Associate Professor, Department of Art University of Maryland) and Rebecca Schoenthal
(Curator of Exhibitions The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia).

Selected finalists will have their work on display August 31 – September 24, 2016.

Sabbatical Exhibition at MICA

The annual exhibition features works produced by a small group of faculty members on sabbaticals during the previous year. This year’s show includes painting faculty member Lauren Frances Adams, general fine arts faculty member Pat Alexander, drawing and painting faculty member Dan Dudrow, humanistic studies faculty members Paul Jaskunas and Saul Myers, photography faculty member Nate Larson, and illustration faculty member Shadra Strickland.

August 29 – September 18, 2016

MICA Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday,10 am–5 pm; Sunday, noon–5 pm; Closed major holidays.

Decker Gallery: Fox Building
1303 W Mt Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217, USA

Appropriating Revolution at the Old Stone House, Brooklyn

Appropriating Revolution
A contemporary art exhibition at the Old Stone House & Washington Park

Exhibition Opening: Wednesday, August 17, 6-9 p.m

Exhibition dates: August 17-October 8, 2016

Hours: Fridays 3-7 p.m.; or by appointment. Call 718-768-3195 or email

Katherine Gressel, Curator

Exhibiting Artists: Lauren Frances Adams, Jim Costanzo [Aaron Burr Society], Gen Howe, Robert Gould, Alicia Grullon, Nsenga Knight

With outdoor public art installations by: Gen Howe, Anthony Heinz May

Revolutions have historically been both catalyzed and commemorated by iconic images, texts and actions–often manifested by artists and artisans. OSH itself serves as a powerful symbol of revolution, as a reconstructed Dutch colonial farmhouse on the land where the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn took place. In conjunction with the opening of OSH’s new permanent interactive exhibition, Old Stone House: Witness to War, Appropriating Revolution brings together contemporary artists inspired by the unique history of the House and of other past revolutions in their efforts to address the most important issues of today.

In a contemporary political climate where the term “revolution” (defined as “the overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system”) risks association with either polarizing rhetoric or cynical complacency, is there an especially appropriate role for artists to play by bringing the tactics and triumphs of the past to the forefront of our conversations?

Other Free Public Events:

Tuesday, September 20, 7-9pm: “Why I Shot Hamilton” Performance and whiskey distillation demo /tasting with Jim Costanzo [Aaron Burr Society]

Sunday, October 2, 1-3pm: Performance/workshop: “Pick It!” protest sign making with Alicia Grullon

‘Of the People’ @ SMACK MELLON, New York

(ABOVE, F. Schumacher and Co. custom 20th c. wallcovering for the House and Senate Chambers in Washington, D.C., also in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt)

Of the people
Curated by Erin Donnelly
June 17 – July 31, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday, June 18, 5-8pm

92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Exhibiting Artists:
Lauren Frances Adams
Daniel Bejar
Guy Ben-Ari
Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine (Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney)
Isabella Cruz-Cong
Peggy Diggs
Esteban del Valle
Nicholas Fraser
Emily Greenberg
Jeremy D. Olson
Sheryl Oring
Ben Pinder
Brittany M. Powell
Kate Sopko
Leah Wolff

Public Event Artists:
Alicia Grullon
t.Rutt (Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson)
Martha Wilson
Others to be announced


For this exhibition, I am creating two special projects exploring recent trends in campaign finance. These site-specific installations of painted architectural ornament mimics the House of Representatives chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building, appropriating the relief portraits, wallpaper, and other symbolic decoration of this quintessentially American political space. Classical temples served as archetypical models for the buildings of Washington, D.C. Statues and friezes with allegorical figures became the models for America’s national symbolism in our burgeoning democracy. Symbols of civic life and learning, strength and endurance as well as classical pagan figures were ideal for the symbolism of the American Enlightenment. In the case of the Capitol’s House Chamber ornamentation, there are 23 marble relief portraits that depict historical figures noted for establishing the principles that underlie American law (such as Napoleon I, Moses, Hammurabi, Suleiman, Thomas Jefferson, Lycurgus, George Mason, etc.). In New Century Lawgivers, I flip these carefully chosen subjects with portraits of contemporary top political financial donors.

These donors (such as Tom Steyer, Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch brothers) reflect a new political reality in which an elite group of superaffluent partisans exert more influence over the campaign landscape than millions of donors of more average means. This project assumes that the massive shift in campaign financial contributions by some of the wealthiest persons are indelibly affecting the political process of the United States — effectively turning our democracy into an oligarchy (or plutocracy, as Noam Chomsky would assert).

Highlighting income inequality and the loss of access to the democratic process by the lower and middle classes, these outsize campaign contributions can dominate policy concerning crucial issues of wealth- and income-protection, as well as public services and policies concerning the environment, labor rights, healthcare, etc. Visualizing these mega-donors through classical architectural symbolism moves their influence into the public dialogue around the state of our shifting democracy.

In the second installation, Dark Money Damask, the historic wallcovering from the Senate and House Chambers, which features images of a liberty cap and liberty bell, has been remixed to incorporate references to recent trends in political spending by SuperPACS and other dark money organizations.


Friday, June 17, 11:30am-8:00pm: Filibuster #2 by Alicia Grullon
For this live re-enactment of Senator Bernie Sanders’ Bush Tax Cuts filibuster, the interdisciplinary artist will follow strict filibustering rules: continual speaking, no bathroom break, no sitting or leaning and no eating or drinking until the 8.5-hour performance is complete.

Drop In Activity also on Friday, June 17: Make your own political button while supplies last. This event is part of the Etsy Craft Party taking place in the neighborhood.

Saturday, June 18, 4-6pm, Thursday, July 7, 6-9pm; Saturday and Sunday during the run of show, 2-6pm: Campaign Office, performance/installation by Jeremy D. Olson
Campaign Office creates new presidential candidates. Visitors are invited to launch their campaign by announcing their candidacy on camera, and will receive the paperwork necessary to be an official candidate for president.

Saturday-Sunday, June 18-19: T.RUMP Bus
The t.Rutt artist team purchased Donald Trump’s actual campaign bus on Craigslist in the fall of 2015. Since being recast by artists Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson as an anti-Trump rolling art project, it has traveled across the United States during the election season, creating a platform for responding to the presumptive GOP nominee’s outrageous statements and behaviors.

We are offering special members-only tours of the T.RUMP Bus. Join today and support Smack Mellon! Become a member by clicking here.

Saturday, June 18 and Saturday, July 16, 12noon-6pm: Mapping projects #7 and #8by Nicholas Fraser
A series of mapping performances will be conducted that examine the absurdities inherent in the media’s visualizations of the presidential election process.

Thursday, July 28, 5:30-8pm: Silkscreen Workshop by Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine
Come to Smack Mellon to make your own political poster copy. The evening includes a screening the Democratic National Convention when the party’s candidate will be announced.

Sunday, July 31, 3pm: Martha Wilson as Donald Trump – Politics and Performance Art Are One and the Same
Martha Wilson embodies her trademark “invasions” of other people’s personae.

Immediately following performance: Community practices: Art and Intervention Panel Discussion Select exhibition artists discuss their projects of social and political consequence. Participants include Isabella Cruz-Chong, Brooklyn, New York; Sheryl Oring, Greensboro, North Carolina; and lead artist Kate Sopko, Cleveland, Ohio, who will be joined by a fixer from her project; moderated by Erin Donnelly.

Closing Reception: 5-6pm.

Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award

I am thrilled to announce that I have been awarded a 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation was established in 1985 to assist individual working artists of merit with financial need through the generosity of Lee Krasner (1908-1984), a leading abstract expressionist painter and widow of Jackson Pollock.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation’s dual criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and demonstrable financial need, whether professional, personal or both. The Foundation’s mission is to aid, internationally, those individuals who have worked as professional artists over a significant period of time.

Pollock-Krasner grants have enabled artists to create new work, purchase needed materials and pay for studio rent, as well as their personal and medical expenses. Past recipients of Pollock-Krasner grants acknowledge their critical impact in allowing concentrated time for studio work, and in preparing for exhibitions and other professional opportunities such as accepting a residency.

Fundação Sacatar Residency

I am an artist in residence at the Sacatar Foundation in Bahia, Brazil, from March 21 – May 15, 2016.

From the press release: Continuing the established tradition of quarterly announcements of the award of Sacatar Fellowships for creative individuals from throughout the world, Sacatar is honored to share the names of the six selected Sacatar Fellows who will participate in a two-month residency session at Instituto Sacatar on the Island of Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil from March 21 to May 16, 2016: animator/filmmaker Elisabeth Zwimpfer (Switzerland/Germany), photographer Gordana Hajinovic (Serbia), visual artist Luciana Magno (Brazil, winner of the 2016 PIPA Prize), visual artist Lauren Adams (USA), choreographer/dancer Maureen Fleming (USA), and filmmaker Meredith Lackey (USA).

With the exception of PIPA Prize winners, all Fundação Sacatar fellows are selected through a highly competitive open call solicitation process that is conducted annually and semi-annually and reviewed by a panel of experts and past Sacatar Fellows. Application for a Sacatar Fellowship is open to creative individuals from throughout the world. For the 2015 – 2017 season, over 650 applications were submitted for approximately 30 residency slots.

About Sacatar: Sacatar was established in 2000 as a non-profit organization to provide creative individuals from around the world the time and physical space to create new work within an international community of artists influenced by the unique culture of Bahia, Brazil. Since 2001, Sacatar has awarded more than 300 Residency Fellowships to individuals from over 60 different countries and has directly supported more than 500 community educational and cultural programs and events in Brazil and abroad. In 2016, Sacatar anticipates hosting 25 creative individuals in four separate 8-week sessions at its oceanside estate, the Instituto Sacatar, on the island of Itaparica, a short ferry ride across the Bay of All Saints from the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

The public is invited to meet the awardees at an interactive artist talk called “Conversas com Sacatar” on March 31, 2016 at 4pm at the Goethe-Institut located at Av. Sete de Setembro, 1809, in the Vitória neighborhood of Salvador, Bahia. Admission is free.

TROVE/TROPE at the Maxey Museum, Whitman College

Trove/Trope An installation by O’Donnell Visiting Educator in Art Lauren Adams, in conjunction with the Sheehan Gallery’s “Scenes and Types: Photography from the Collection of Adnan Charara” exhibit. Opening Reception, Thursday, March 10 6-8pm March 11 – May 9 2016 Lauren Adams will be in residence in the gallery February 29 to March 11, and delivering a public lecture on Saturday, March 5 at 4:00 pm in Olin 130. 345 Boyer Ave. Walla Walla, WA 99362

In Trove/Trope, Adams investigates the mundane displays of decorative and utilitarian objects (the textiles, the jewelry, the pottery) in photographs from the Charara collection. The first part of the installation’s title refers to the collection as a special site, a trove, not only from Charara’s perspective as the collector, but also in the way the photographs assemble and capture people, places, and moments within the handily accessible format of cheap, reproducible, and collectible cards. The second part of the title refers to the problematics of representation as the reiteration of recognizable forms and objects that create the illusion of a reality outside of the photographs themselves.

In Trove/Trope Adams brings the strategy of repetition and appropriation to bear on the photographs from Adnan Charara’s collection. To this source material, she adds motifs from Owen Jones’s inventory of decorative surfaces, The Grammar of Ornament, first published in 1856. About the decision to draw on Jones’s inventory, she writes: “I was confronted with how to make connections between the specificity of the images (these are real people mostly doing real things in real places) and the generality of the types (types that were fantasy constructions for a non-native audience). I struck on the Owen Jones as a way to acknowledge this tension between generalities and specificities. Furthermore, many of the patterns in the Charara collection, from clothes to blankets to pottery to furniture, are in fragments or pieces. Jones’s original document also attempted, not quite successfully, to aggregate this fragmentation for Western eyes.” Adams draws on The Grammar of Ornament in an effort to consolidate the fragmented, exaggerated display on view in the collection. ]]>

'The Swerve' at Ortega Y Gasset Projects

Ortega y Gasset Projects opens the 2016 season with two concurrent exhibitions. A joint reception will be held on Saturday, January 23, 6-9pm.  At a special afternoon event on February 6, Jennifer Coates, David Humphrey, and Glenn Goldberg will play music in the gallery.

On view in the main gallery, Lauren Frances Adams and Jennifer Coates co-curate The Swerve, featuring works by Julia Bland, Caroline Wells Chandler, Glenn Goldberg, Bill Komoski, Joyce Kozloff, Bruce Pearson, Sarah Peters, James Siena, and Barbara Takenaga. The exhibition runs until Sunday, February 21.

The title for the exhibition is based upon a book of the same name by Stephen Greenblatt, which touches on ancient atomistic theory, wherein atoms normally falling straight through a void are sometimes subject to a clinamen — a slight, unpredictable change. It is in this interruption of regularity where the action lies. According to Lucretius, if atoms were not in the habit of swerving, “nature would never have produced anything.” Taking this as a point of departure, The Swerve presents contemporary paintings and sculptures that explore the haptic and conceptual approaches to pattern: how pattern and its rupture are employed in service of meaning.

Joyce Kozloff appropriates the iconic Islamic star to create a richly colored all-over pattern that merges non-Western motif  with an American quilting logic, revealing the political in the decorative. Julia Bland utilizes an eccentric, loose weaving technique to build emblematic, symmetrical imagery that seem to contain hidden meanings, while Caroline Wells Chandler uses crochet to generate soft sculptures: feminist homunculi that merge cartoons with craft. Sarah Peters’ ancient Assyrian hair patterns become almost architectural as they frame and support an open-mouthed female: many periods of art history coalesce into a single head. Barbara Takenaga’s woozy forms radiate from a glowing center, as her carefully tended surfaces create cosmic vortexes. Bill Komoski’s lattices and sculpted holes on canvas leak toxic sludge in tongue-like shapes, as he channels the bodily via the urban industrial. Bruce Pearson’s white-on-white biomorphic carvings also make use of relief, embedding text within them: once your eyes adjust the code is broken. In James Siena’s drawing, a figure emerges from a density of tiny marks, she seems to be trapped within the edges of the paper. Glenn Goldberg makes hallucinatory use of dots to create an atmospheric world from which two tiny birds emerge.

The artists all share a propensity to tease out meaning from complex visual matrices. Images range from figuration to abstraction, but the recurrent theme is an organic wavering between recognizable form and repetition.

On view in the gallery vestibule, Adams and Coates curate Star Upon Star, a site-specific installation by Kirsten Hassenfeld. The piece will be on view throughout the Ortega y Gasset spring exhibition program.

Star Upon Star is constructed from recycled giftwrap, using a system both geometrically precise and intentionally off-kilter. Hassenfeld forces clashing patterns and the associations they evoke to coexist and to coalesce into a sculptural whole.

Educated as a printmaker, Kirsten Hassenfeld makes sculpture from paper and found objects. She has been honored with numerous awards and residencies, most recently the St. Gaudens Memorial Fellowship in 2014. Her work has been featured in Art in America, the New York Times Magazine and Interview Magazine, among others. She lives and works in Brooklyn and the Catskills.

Lauren Frances Adams (Baltimore, Maryland) mines the histories of power, labor, and material culture to make surprising connections that resonate with current sociopolitical issues. Solo exhibitions include Back Lane West, Cornwall, UK; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; EXPO Chicago; and Conner Contemporary, Washington, D.C. Group exhibitions include: The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Contemporary Applied Arts, London; CUE Foundation, NY; Mattress Factory and the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.  Residencies include Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant.

Jennifer Coates is an artist, writer and musician living in NYC. Her ongoing series of paintings – “Total Fat” – explore the sacred architecture and spiritual radiance embedded in processed foods. She recently had a two person show of collaborative work with David Humphrey at Arts & Leisure Gallery and a two person show with Tom Burckhardt at Valentine Gallery, both in NYC. She currently has a painting, PB&J, on view at the Museum at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. She has written art reviews for Time Out New York and Art in America and can be seen playing violin and singing in various bands in the region.

Ortega y Gasset Projects is a gallery curated projects space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. Comprised of artists currently living in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee, OyG operates a cross-country collective and an incubator for dialogue and artistic exchange.

For more information contact Lauren Frances Adams at

Open Saturdays & Sundays 1-6pm and by appointment

Ortega y Gasset Projects The Old American Can Factory 363 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215