03 Featured Artist: Matt Morris

 

 

Matt Morris

BFA Painting, 2007

Current Positions: Art Critic for Artforum.com; Adjunct faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Associate Director of Iceberg Projects

My practice involves being an artist, writer, and curator. In my art, I use photography, installation and other interventions into space to articulate the cultural positionality of the queer political subject within imbricated systems of control. I am interested in how tropes of both subtlety and excess can be used to render visible the complex erotics that underlie social landscapes. I am currently working on a series of spreads for the next issue of the art journal Monsters & Dust, as well as work for exhibitions at PEREGRINEPROGRAM in Chicago and Fjord in Philadelphia.

My writing and curatorial work likewise reflect interests in the production and recognition of queer space, as well as in the capacity for formalism to be attached to urgent philosophical and political concerns. I have recently been writing about the Cincinnati artist Tony Luensman, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Roni Horn, and the post-human imaginary that is developing in contemporary painting practices. I am currently writing an essay about queer rappers as hyphenated cultural producers that will appear in the Jan/Feb issue of Art Papers. I am also writing two courses I will be teaching at SAIC in 2014 called “Painting Queer” and “Bodies and Technologies.”

All of these interlocking parts of my work began in Cincinnati and can be tracked to ways I was involved in the culture at the Art Academy. I was afforded the flexibility to work across disciplines, and develop an approach to production that was less dependent on totalizing stylistics and more concerned with following an inquiry through many possible forms. I started to be curated into exhibitions by some of my faculty and began exhibiting my work regionally and nationally even before graduating. At AAC I was given an initial introduction to philosophy and aesthetics, and my writing was encouraged. Starting in my freshman year, I began working in the school galleries, and was introduced to the methodologies of curating and the mechanics of putting together thoughtful displays of art. When I graduated, I immediately began writing art criticism and operating not-for-profit gallery spaces like semantics and U·turn Art Space in Brighton. I’ve recently completed my MFA in Art Theory + Practice from Northwestern University, where I also earned a Certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies. My time at the Art Academy and my years participating actively in Cincinnati’s art community led directly to the rigorous work involved in my masters program and my present life and work in Chicago.