The Department of Painting + Printmaking welcomes incoming Chair, Arnold J. Kemp
VCUarts is pleased to announce the appointment of Arnold J. Kemp as Chair of the Department of Painting + Printmaking.
Kemp holds a combined BA/BFA (1991) from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and earned an MFA (2005) from Stanford University’s Department of Art & Art History. Kemp has been making and exhibiting regularly for 20 years, while concurrently writing and publishing critical and creative texts. His work resides in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Berkeley Art Museum, The Tacoma Art Museum, the Fine Arts Collection at the University of California, Davis, the Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR; and in the collection of JP Morgan Chase Manhattan Bank. He is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2012), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2003), the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2001), Artadia Fund for Art & Dialogue (2001), Art Matters Grant (2009), and Printed Matter Award for Artists (2009). He has also been awarded an artist residency from Cité Internationale Des Arts, which allowed him to live and work for seven months of (2005 – 2006) in Paris, France. The time in France preceded a major residency, commission and exhibition supported by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Arts (2008 – 2009).
From 1991 – 2006, Kemp lived and worked in San Francisco, California where he had four significant solo exhibitions and many groups shows while also working as a curator for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (1993 – 2003) and serving on the board of the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito (2000 – 2004) and consulting for the Luggage Store/ 509 Cultural Center, San Francisco (2005). A major shift in he professional development came in 2001 when he showed work in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s groundbreaking exhibition “Freestyle”, curated by Thelma Golden. This exhibition identified a generation of black artists who felt free to abandon or confront the label of “black artist,” preferring to be understood as individuals with complex investigations of blackness in their work. His work became associated with a stance in a transitional moment in the quest to define ongoing changes in African-American art, and ultimately became part of the perpetual redefinition of blackness in contemporary culture. After this exhibition his work was collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2001), he had his fist solo show in New York City at Debs & Co. (2001), and the Studio Museum in Harlem purchased a significant work in 2005. Since then he has shown regularly, and has developed a practice that foregrounds research and experimentation that reflects on the self hybridized by and mingled with our culture of contradiction and uncertainty.
Simultaneous with his activities of making and exhibiting (2006 – present), he has been a visiting artist and lecturer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Portland Art Museum, the San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, The School of Visual Arts, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Portland State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Tyler School of Art, Syracuse University/ College of Visual and Performing Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, Parsons the New School of Arts and Design, York Saint John University, York, England , Vermont Studio Center, and Anderson Ranch Art Center.
Kemp has mounted solo shows of his work at PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, OR (2013, 2010, 2009), Debs & Co., New York (2001), Quotidian Gallery, San Francisco (2002), Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco (2006), Envoy, New York (2008), ESP, San Francisco (1998), and Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco (2009). His work has also been shown internationally in London UK, Hong Kong, Tbilisi, Georgia, Hyères, France and Ptuj, Slovenia. Arnold J. Kemp’s poetry and prose has appeared in CALLALOO, THREE RIVERS POETRY JOURNAL, AGNI REVIEW, MIRAGE #4 PERIOD(ICAL), RIVER STYX, NOCTURNES, and ART JOURNAL. In 2005 and 2007 SMALL PRESS TRAFFIC commissioned two of his plays/performances for the SAN FRANCISCO POETS THEATER.