CUT THROUGH: Reconfiguring relationships between Identity, Artmaking, and Movement Building

April 30, 2018, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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A conversation between Alicia Grullón, the Chinatown art Brigade, and Native Art Department International

Hemispheric Institute with FABnyc and Downtown Art

Join us for a conversation between New York City based artists of color whose public practices build community, lead political action, and steer cultural organizing. By working collectively, opportunities for mutual support and sharing narratives build context and discourse—which often get sidelined by art world systems. The work of these artists decenters the traditional art-making canon in service of social change within and beyond the art world. Inclusive approaches like these build room for solidarity in resistance from ‘the margins,’ amplifying cultural expression with a paracentric lens.

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Alicia Grullón moves between performance, video, and photography. She channels her interdisciplinary approach towards critiques of the politics of presence–an argument for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres. Grullón’s works have been shown in numerous group exhibitions including Franklin Furnace Archives, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, BRIC Arts | Media House, School of Visual Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery, and Performa 11. She has received grants from several institutions including the Puffin Foundation, Bronx Council on the Arts, and the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of New York. Review’s and essays regarding Alicia’s work can be found in the New York Times, Village Voice, Hyperallergic, Creative Time Reports, Art Fag City, and ArtNet News. Grullón has participated in residencies in the United States, South Korea, and Germany, and has presented workshops as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial with Occupy Museums, Creative Time Summit ’15, and The Royal College of Art, among others. Currently, Alicia is working on a commissioned piece for the High Line and a project through the Lincoln Center Initiative with The Point CDC. She holds a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and an MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and has completed advanced graduate level coursework in art and philosophy of education at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University.


Native Art Department International is a collaborative long-term project created and administered by Maria Hupfield and Jason Lujan. It focuses on communications platforms and art-world systems of support while at the same time functioning as emancipation from identity based artwork. It seeks to circumvent easy categorization by comprising a diverse range such  as curated exhibitions, video screenings, panel talks, collective art making, and an online presence, however all activities contain an undercurrent of positive progress through cooperation and non-competition.
Jason Lujan is originally from Marfa, Texas. His multi-disciplinary work focuses on trans-national experiences and collaborations using imagery and signifiers rooted in Asia and North America. Previous exhibitions include the Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; the National Museum of the American Indian, NY, NY; the Curibita Biennial in Brazil; Continental de Artes Indígenas Contemporáneas at the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Mexico City. Jason occasionally curates and co-organizes exhibitions in New York City, and is a board chair with the downtown arts non-profit ABC No Rio.
Based in Brooklyn New York, Maria Hupfield is an interdisciplinary artist from Canada, and a member of the Anishinaabek Nation at Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. Her recent traveling solo exhibition The One Who Keeps on Giving, opened the thirtieth Anniversary season of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto in partnership with Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal; Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax; and Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris. She was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, is the 2018 Indigenous Artist in Resident at ISCP and co-conspirator with #callresponse currently at EFA Project Space.

The Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB) is a cultural collective of artists, media makers and activists creating art and media to advance social justice. Our work is driven by the fundamental belief that collaboration with and accountability to those communities that are directly impacted by racial, social and economic inequities must be central to our cultural, art, or media making process. In 2015, artists Tomie Arai, ManSee Kong and Betty Yu formed the Chinatown Art Brigade (CAB), a cultural collective that recognizes the power of art to advance social justice. CAB is comprised of Asian American social justice minded artists, cultural workers, mediamakers, tenants and residents who have roots in activism and movement-building work in Chinatown and NYC. CAB believes that art, culture and media work must serve and advance social justice movements. CAB launched Here to Stay, a multi-year project that included a series of large-scale outdoor projections that addressed themes of gentrification, displacement and community resilience. Artwork based on oral histories, placekeeping walks, and photography created in community-led workshops was projected onto buildings and public landmarks in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. CAB collaborates with the Chinatown Tenants Union (CTU) of CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, a community group that organizes low-income pan-Asian communities around tenant rights, fighting evictions and displacement. CAB has joined forces with CAAAV to protect the rights of people who need affordable housing and advocate for equitable community-based rezoning plan that can fight gentrification.