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Tabula Rasa: Artist Conversation

Installation view, Tabula Rasa, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, May 30– July 12, 2024. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photo: Steven Probert

With Aria Dean, Sara VanDerBeek and James Welling. Moderated by Connie Butler. The event will be livestreamed

Tuesday, June 25th

534 West 21st Street

Doors: 5:00 PM

Conversation: 5:30 PM



Aria Dean (b. 1993) lives and works in New York. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions and performances include the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2024); The Power Plant, Toronto (2023); The Renaissance Society, Chicago (2023); Greene Naftali, New York (2023, 2021); Progetto, Lecce, Italy (2023); CAPC, Bordeaux (2023); REDCAT, Los Angeles (2021); Artists Space, New York (2020); Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva (2019); and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2018). Significant group shows include the Whitney Biennial: Quiet As It’s Kept (2022); the Hammer Museum’s biennial Made in L.A. 2020: a version (2021); the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2019); The MAC, Belfast, Northern Ireland (2019); Tai Kwun, Hong Kong (2019); Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin (2018); Swiss Institute, New York (2018); and the de Young Museum, San Francisco (2017), among others.

Her writing has appeared in publications including Artforum, Art in America, e-flux, The New Inquiry, X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly, Spike Quarterly, Kaleidoscope Magazine, Texte zur Kunst, CURA Magazine, and November. A volume of her collected writings, Bad Infinity, was published by Sternberg Press in 2023. Dean’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Since the 1970s, American photographer James Welling (b. 1951) has become known for a relentlessly evolving body of images that considers both the history and technical specificities of photography. Welling was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He studied at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and the University of Pittsburgh before receiving his BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Welling’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. Most recently, in 2022, a two-person exhibition featuring the work of Welling and Thomas Ruff, was on view at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany; in addition to solo presentations at Musée des Arts Contemporains, Hornu, Belgium (2021) and George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York (2020). 

In 1999, Welling received the DG BANK-Förderpreis Fotografie from the Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany. He was a recipient of the 2014 Infinity Award given by the International Center of Photography, New York, and in 2016 he received the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award from Woodbury University, Burbank, California. In 2024, he was a Photographer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. From 1995 to 2016, Welling was Professor in the Department of Art and Area Head of Photography at the University of California, Los Angeles, and since 2012 he has been a Lecturer with the Status of Professor in the Visual Art Program at the Lewis Center at Princeton University. Welling’s work is held in major museum collections around the world. He lives and works in New York.

Sara VanDerBeek (b. 1976, Baltimore, MD) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. VanDerBeek's work investigates our collective and evolving relationship with photography and the photographic image. VanDerBeek's recent work has focused on contemporary museological practices of collection and display. Within this context VanDerBeek highlights women’s ongoing contributions to the larger material and visual cultures upon which institutional collections and art historical narratives are built. Her photographic works and inter-media installations address the complex nature of contemporary female existence in which reproduction in all its forms - from the physiological to the photographic - becomes a creative act of reclamation and inter-generational dialogue. 

Solo exhibitions include Lace Interlace, The Approach, London, UK, (2023), Chorus, Altman Siegel, San Francisco, CA (2021); Women& Museums, Metro Pictures, New York, NY; VanDerBeek+VanDerBeek, Black Mountain College Museum, Asheville, NC; Women & Museums, Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN (all 2019); Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; The Approach, London, UK (all 2015); Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH (2014); Foundazione Memmo, Rome, Italy (2012); The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2011); and Whitney Museum of Art, New York NY (2010). VanDerBeek’s work is in the collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Dallas Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Los Angeles, ICA, Boston, ICA Miami, MoCA, Los Angeles, MoMA, New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. VanDerBeek is a recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2022) and a Pollock- Krasner Foundation grant (2023). The first monograph of her work was published by Hatje Cantz, in 2016.

Connie Butler is the Director of MoMA PS1 in New York. Prior to her arrival in September 2023, she was Chief Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, since 2013, where she organized numerous exhibitions including the biennial of Los Angeles artists Made in LA (2014); Mark Bradford: Scorched Earth (2015); Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space (2017); Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence (2019); and Witch Hunt (2021). She also co-organized with MoMA, Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions which opened at the Hammer in October 2018. From 2006-2013 she was the Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art, New York where she co-curated the first major Lygia Clark retrospective in the United States (2014) and On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century (2010) in addition to Greater New York (2010) and Mike Kelley (2013) at MoMA PS1. Butler also organized the groundbreaking survey WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (2007) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles where she was curator from 1996-2006. In 2020 Butler received the Bard College Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence.

Link to Livestream