All posts filed under: new work

Updated project website: (Re)Housing the American Dream

(Re)Housing the American Dream is an ongoing community based, performative documentary project which started in 2015. It provides a collective forum for refugee and American born children to engage critically with their intersecting issues of immigration, segregation, housing, and happiness. It is structured as a three-week summer camp in Milwaukee’s Near West Side during which the young adults produce a collective video work that is exhibited at the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee. Lead Artist: Kirsten Leenaars. Curator: Emilia Layden Check out the updated project website with all the latest work from summer 2018!    

Exhibition York College Galleries: (Re)Housing the American Dream, September 6 – October 12, 2018, York (PA)

(Re)Housing the American Dream at York College Galleries, York (PA), September 6 –October 12, 2018. The exhibition shows the collection of drawings, video and text work that make up (Re)Housing the American Dream; a cumulative documentary project (2015-ongoing) that explores the role of film as political action. This experimental multi-year documentary project follows a group of American and refugee youths in Milwaukee, growing up in the time of Trump. Through the collective making of video and text based work the construct of the American Dream is explored. The production period is structured as an annual summer camp in which the works are developed through collaborative processes with the participants. The produced work reflects on current socio-political issues, their lived experiences, individual perspectives and their collective imagination. The annual works cumulatively inform each other and tell the story of a resilient, diverse, opinioned group of youngsters living in divisive times. Project website: Artist Lecture: Wednesday October 10, 5:30 pm Demeester Recital Hall, 441 Country Club Rd, York College York, Pennsylvania Exhibition: Kirsten Leenaars: (Re)Housing the American Dream September 6 – October 12, 2018, York College Galleries Wolf Hall, …

Opening Reception (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles, Thursday Sept 20th, Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee

Invitation opening reception (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles at the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee. This exhibition is an overview of all the work produced during this 3-year performative documentary project, including the new 3 channel video installation, produced this summer. Opening Reception (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles Thursday Sept 20th from 5 – 8 pm. Gallery Talk 6 pm: Artist Kirsten Leenaars in conversation with filmmaker Jesse McLean. Haggerty Museum of Art, at Marquette University 530 N 13th St, Milwaukee Exhibition Rehousing the American Dream: Freedom Principles runs: August 17, 2018 – January 17, 2019 at the Haggerty Museum of Art Link to show: Project website: (Re)Housing the American Dream is a cumulative performative documentary project (2015-ongoing) that explores the role of film as political action. This experimental multi-year documentary project follows a group of American and refugee youths, growing up in the time of Trump, through the collective making of performative video and text based work exploring the construct of the American Dream. The production period is structured as an annual summer camp in which the works are developed through collaborative processes with the …

Boulevard Dreamers at the Art Institute of Chicago, July 21, 2018

Boulevard Dreamers Saturday July 21, 11:00 am – 4:45 pm, Art Institute of Chicago (North Garden), 111 South Michigan Ave, Chicago The Art Institute of Chicago presents Boulevard Dreamers as part of AIC’s Block Party! Boulevard Dreamers is a traveling installation and variety show responding to the specific narratives and communities of the sites and venues it visits. This collaborative project by artists Lise Haller Baggesen and Kirsten Leenaars consists of three parts: a site-specific stage set, a series of performances, and an installation of the growing collection of portraits of the Boulevard Dreamers performers. Boulevard Dreamers questions and celebrates the production of self in a society dominated by one spectacle alone: desire. Through a little glamour, a little glitter, and with a little help from their friends, Baggesen and Leenaars explore how we are moved by the agency of desire and the magical allure of being in the spotlight. Previous iterations were held at The Franklin, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Performers at AIC include: Green / Shriner, Emily Hooper Lansana, Rebirth, Fred and Pearl Sasaki, Henry Barrett, Toni …

Catalog Launch and Screening (Re)Housing the American Dream: A Message from the Future, Saturday March 3, 2018

  Special screening and catalog presentation of (Re)Housing the American Dream: A Message from the Future on Saturday March 3rd. The catalog is designed by Sonia Yoon and includes an essay by Steven Bridges, assistant curator at Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University.  At 3 pm there will a Q&A with the young participants discussing the project and their experiences being part of it and developing the work together. For more on the project: Screening and catalog presentation: (Re)Housing the American Dream: A Message from the Future. Saturday, March 32 – 5 pm, 3 pm: Q&A. Mobile Design Box, 753 N. 27th Street, Milwaukee  

Screening and magazine presentation (Re)Housing the American Dream at Lit&Luz Festival, Mexico City, February 21, 2018

MAKE Literary Production’s 4th annual Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art, themed “Belonging,” is an ambitious exchange between poets and artists from Mexico City and Chicago. The week-long festival takes place at over a dozen arts venues and universities throughout Chicago, October 13th-20th. This February, a similar series of events are held in Mexico City. Programs include readings, conversations, and our signature event, the “Live Magazine Show” in both cities. Screening (Re)Housing the American Dream at Lit&Luz Festival MAKE Magazine presentation, 6 pm, Aeromoto, Venecia 23, Entre Liverpool y Marsella, Col. Juárez For more on the project:  

Opening: The Tip of My Tongue Jan 26 – Mar 17, 2018

  The Tip of My Tongue Jan 26 – Mar 17, 2018. Opening Reception: January 26, 5 – 8PM. Performance and panel with Kirsten Leenaars and CLA, February 7, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM Weinberg Newton Gallery. 300 West Superior, Suite 203, Chicago, Illinois 60654 Hours: Mon – Sat 10 AM – 5 PM The Tip of My Tongue is organized in partnership with the Chicago Literacy Alliance and aims to draw out the complexities of language as a tool not only for communication but also for connection, discovery, and growth. This group exhibition takes an expansive approach to the theme of literacy as it explores the many issues caught up in the web of words we each navigate, from notions of identity and belonging, to autonomy and self-expression. Through sound, color, book arts, and text, this group of works by six Chicago-based artists provides access points to a multiplicity of voices, ideas, viewpoints, and conversations. Artists: Judith Brotman, Kirsten Leenaars, Andy Moore, Huong Ngo, North Branch Projects, and Udita Upadhyaya. Curator: Kasia Houlihan For more on the show and …

Screening Homeland of Gestures: Folding Within You Without You at Grandmother Film Festival, Berlin, 15-17 December, 2017

Homeland of Gestures: Folding Within You Without You is an intimate, poetic study of the last ten years of my grandmother’s life and the changing relationship between her and my mother. Capturing gestures that sustain time, and express both knowledge and love. Included at the Grandmother Film Festival, at the Jugend Museum in Berlin this December, curated by Sophia Tabatadze. This festival screens artist films and animations about grandmothers Link to festival:

Opening: Home Front at Terrain Biennial, October 1 – December 1, 2017

Home Front is a site-specific installation I created for the Terrain Biennial, curated by Sabina Ott and generously hosted by Justin Witte and Olivia Schreiner. Home Front takes note of what it means to have a sense of place and belonging and the dream of leaving – by desire or necessity at a time in America in which this conversation is defined by walls and travel bans. Reflecting on the complex situation of the emblematic figure of the immigrant throughout time, I examine my own and the Witte-Schreiner’s Dutch roots and immigration history. Link to show:  

Three Channel Video: (Re)Housing the American Dream: A Message from the Future, 2017

(Re)Housing the American Dream: A Message from the Future Three-channel video, 2017 Duration 13:42 min How to imagine a future America when you are thirteen in what feels like a rather uncertain time? How are our desires and fears marked by the reality of today? How to give shape to these future imaginations through performative actions? Referencing Lygia Pape’s performance ‘Divisor’ and Simone Forti’s ‘Huddle’ the students create a sensorial cartography of the future, of the individual and the collective. They wrote a manifesto, embody the future creative work force, planted flags devised from silver emergency blankets in the neighborhood, took over the streets moving as one collective body and created a large-scale ‘monument of the future’ in public space in response to the Charlotteville protests. Collectively they imagined how we could move forward as a nation comprised of a multitude of histories and identities, like the group itself.   Director / Editor: Kirsten Leenaars Assistant Director: Zachary Hutchinson Camera: Ellie Hall and Paul deuth Sound: Brent Walquist Composer: Paul Deuth Performers: Alanis Aranda-Salgado, Iman …

Dangerous Professors

Typographies of Hope (April 7, 2017, NY Times), 2017 Saturday May 13, 6 PM – 9 PM Triumph, 2055 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60608 The Dangerous Professors, a curatorial project exhibiting over one hundred and fifty artists–educators, acts as a counter-action to the pervasive rightwing impulse whose spirit jeopardizes civil, artistic and academic freedom by calling out, shaming, and harming those it opposes. The exhibition responds by first inviting artists who define themselves as educators to participate, the result of which creates a list of art-educators that can be deemed, in the current political climate, as dangerous. Second, the exhibition portrays the spectrum of art done by the presumably “dangerous” educators, and has the potential to become “dangerous art.” Third, the exhibition will provide a publication that voices the individual concerns of the artists-educators participating in the show. The text will structure a platform for public dialogue that furthers the development of strategies toward radical education. Public event for the release of The Dangerous Professors Publication: Thursday, May 25, 6pm to 10pm Curator: …

Standards Variance

​how are you feeling America, 2017 Friday May 12, 6 PM – 9 PM   Public Access, 3306 W. North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 Exhibition continues until June 10th, 2017. Gallery open hours on Saturdays from 12-6pm. Standards Variance is a group show of speculative proposals around what is possible for urban space (empty lots, abandoned buildings, storefronts, green-space, etc.) in Chicago. Julia Arredondo, Stella Brown, William Camargo & Yvette Mayorga, Monica Chadha & Carlo Parente, Raul De Lara, Angela Davis Fegan, Alejandro Jimenez Flores, Alfredo Garcia, Danny Giles & Sharmyn Cruz Rivera, Jaclyn Jacunski, Leo Kaplan, Morten Kvamme, Kirsten Leenaars, Ruslana Lichtzier, Fran Lightbound, Kelly Lloyd, Lora Lode, John Lusis, Jesse Malmed, Nicole Marroquin, Victoria Martinez, Gabriel Montero, Nuria Montiel, Josh Rios, Bailey Romaine, Luis Rodriguez Rosario, Edra Soto, Third Object (Ann Meisinger, Raven Falquez Munsell, Gan Uyeda), Selina Trepp, Rafael E. Vera, Lisa Vinebaum, Aaron Walker, and Latham Zearfoss. Organized by Brandon Alvendia and Greg Ruffing.

“I’ve Got The Best Words”

  Details wall drawing (20x12ft)  “I’ve Got The Best Words”, 2016. Evanston Art Center, 1717 Central Street, Evanston ​ Based on linguistic research and google searches around the language and words used by both candidates in the upcoming elections this work addresses the notion of language as something elusive, fleeting, troubled, tainted and at times powerful, ultimately questioning word’s power to align themselves with authenticity and meaning. And when are words ever “just a few words”? “Words matter when you run for president,” as Hillary Clinton reminded her opponent during the first presidential debate. Clinton was clearly admonishing Donald Trump for a season of off-the-cuff remarks and tweets which have been routinely misleading, false, hateful, derogatory, inflammatory, juvenile, and—most recently—“lewd.” Trump’s counter, at once boastful and inscrutable, is that he has “the best words.” For example Trump used most first person singular pronouns (I, me, my) while Clinton was more likely to use first person plural pronouns (we, us). Trump used twice as many empty words (e.g. anybody, everybody, nothing, thing) as Clinton. “I’ve Got the Best …