Since its inception in 1968, the Whitney Independent Study Program has evolved from a small experimental project challenging established thinking about pedagogy and art to become a world-renowned model for an alternative approach to the education and professional development of young artists, curators, and art and cultural historians.
Ron Clark, ISP director, has remarked that the program recognizes “that there are always social and political stakes involved in cultural practice. Art and culture are never neutral or innocent. They are always shaped or determined in some way by social interests. This conception contradicts the central principle of conventional mainstream aesthetics that art is disinterested, autonomous, and separate from the social world."
In keeping with these principles, the artists of this year’s studio program are committed to socially engaged, critical art practices. The works presented in Public Event critique the ideological effects of cultural representation using a variety of means and methods, from installation and sculpture to video and painting. These projects find urgency in questioning a range of discourses, from gun ownership, big data, and education to political incarceration, ecology, and postcolonialism.
Gustavo Murillo Fernández-Valdés works with photography, video and animation. He holds a BA in Humanities with an art history concentration from Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona and an MFA in Photography and Video from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Murillo Fernández-Valdés is a recipient of “La Caixa” Scholarship, and was selected winner of the Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographers award in 2012 and 2013. In 2016, he published “Olympics at Home” (Marshgate Press), which was selected for the SCAN Tarragona International Photography Festival. He has exhibited his work in New York and London.
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