VCUarts Partners with Tate Modern, London

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Addiction and recovery artist brings practice to U.K. for week-long residency

Richmond, Virginia (Jan. 16, 2018) – Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts) is pleased to announce its partnership with Tate Exchange, at Tate Modern London. Artist John Freyer, an assistant professor at VCUarts, will be the school’s first Tate Exchange Associate. He will be in residency in London from June 26 through July 1, 2018.

Freyer will be available in Tate Exchange for conversation and coffee in a week-long project that creates space for dialogue about addiction and recovery. He will be building on his Fifty/Fifty project for an international audience.

Freyer’s work offers a unique opportunity to engage people in recovery with broader publics, emphasizing creative expression as a means of assisting in the recovery process and reducing the social stigma and isolation associated with individuals struggling with addiction. His work also revives the simple yet meaningful practice of face-to-face dialogue—a growing rarity in an increasingly technologically mediated world.

“Freyer’s work is a unique catalyst that inspires genuine, organic, one-on-one conversations that help destigmatize people recovering from addiction and those that support them,” says VCUarts Dean Shawn Brixey. “These casual conversations with the public are increasingly important amid growing national and international discussions of addiction. We’re very pleased to have the School of the Arts partner with Tate Exchange, and to have John Freyer as our first Tate Exchange Associate.”

Later this month, Freyer will produce “Recovery Roast” for Tate Exchange, working in collaboration with the Tate Roastery and with participants in recovery. As part of the experience, this specially roasted coffee will be brewed and served as Freyer and others in recovery engage the public in conversation.

Tate Exchange, a new project for the museum, sets out to ask how art makes a difference to society and creates a common space for the public to debate contemporary topics and ideas, to get actively involved, and to make a difference. VCUarts will be the Tate Exchange’s first U.S. partner.

About Tate Exchange Associates

Organisations from a wide range of fields well beyond the gallery’s normal reach have become Associates of Tate Exchange. This group programme the dedicated spaces at Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool. Working in a spirit of generosity, openness and trust, the Associates collaborate with one another around an annual theme inspired by the art on display. Now in its second year, Tate Exchange has expanded its group of Associates to 60 partners, while consistently seeking to engage audiences which are new to the museum. For the full list of Associates and more information please visit

About Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

VCUarts is the top-ranked public art school in the U.S. and offers degree programs across the visual and performing arts and design. VCUarts is housed within a major urban research university that has been recognized for its community-engaged research. Encouraging intellectual inquiry in and through the creative fields, VCUarts fosters rich, interdisciplinary collaborations between artists, designers, health practitioners, and more. VCUarts manages its partnership with Tate Exchange through the Arts Research Institute, the school’s research hub and think tank that supports project development and special initiatives.

About John Freyer

John Freyer is an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia, USA. As an artist, author and educator, his practice explores how the circulation of objects and stories enrich social ties between individuals and groups. His projects include All My Life for SaleBig Boy, Live IKEA, Free Ice Water, Free Hot Coffee and Free Hot Supper.

Freyer earned his B.A. from Hamilton College and his M.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. His work has been reviewed in The New Yorker, The Sunday London Times, Artforum, Print Magazine and NBC’s The Today Show. Freyer is a Fulbright Scholar, a MacDowell Colony Fellow and was an Artist in Residence at Light Work and the Fannon Center in Doha, Qatar. Freyer has brought his social practice projects to TEDxRVA, has exhibited at Mixed Greens, NY, the Liverpool Biennial Fringe, Liverpool, UK, and is the first U.S.-based Tate Exchange Associate at the Tate Modern in London.

U.S. press Inquiries, contact Suzanne A. Silitch, APR, director of communications, VCU School of the Arts, 828-6819

U.K. Press inquiries, contact the Tate press office at; +44(0)20 7887 8730. For full details, visit; for high-resolution images visit



January 16, 2018