Join us for a free evening at MOCA with galleries open late, live music by KXCI Community Radio DJs, and free beer by Barrio Brewing Company. Don’t miss this lively time to gather with friends and family around art, music, and drinks; all ages are welcome!
This month, we celebrate Southwest Contemporary’s Fall/Winter 2023 issue, Vol, 8: Medium + Support, with an artist conversation and light refreshments.
At 6pm, featured artists alejandro t. acierto, Lizz Denneau, and Safwat Saleem will discuss their work with the issue’s juror, MOCA’s Laura Copelin, moderated by Natalie Hegert, Southwest Contemporary Arts Editor.
This program is a part of Southwest Contemporary’s Critical Commons initiative that embraces creative and critical discourse, on and off the page. Each program is a community event designed to engage stakeholders (artists, writers, thinkers, cultural workers, and the public) in discussions of the roles and impacts of cultural discourse across the Southwest and West, with attention to the unique needs of communities in the vast Intercoastal U.S. that are so often overlooked by mainstream art media.
About the Artists
alejandro t. acierto is an artist, musician, and curator whose work is largely informed by legacies of colonialism found within human relationships to technology and material cultures. Working within and across expanded forms of documentary, new media, creative scholarship, and sound, he has presented projects and screenings for the 2019 Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Issue Project Room (NYC), MCA Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Echo Park Film Center (LA), Stove Works (Chattanooga) and Eastside Projects (Birmingham, UK), among others. He has presented multimedia performance works for the Rapid Pulse Performance Art Festival (Chicago), High Zero Festival (Baltimore), the KANEKO (Omaha), and The Quarantine Concerts for ESS Chicago. Additionally, his curatorial projects have been mounted at Stove Works (Chattanooga), Tipton Gallery at East Tennessee State University (Johnson City), Vanderbilt University’s Space 204 and Coop (both Nashville), as well as online for the Wrong Biennial.
acierto has held residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Banff Centre, High Concept Laboratories, LATITUDE, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, and Digital Artist Residency. A 3Arts Awardee, he received his undergraduate degree from DePaul University, an MM from Manhattan School of Music, an MFA in New Media Arts from the University Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and was an inaugural Artist in Residence for Critical Race Studies at Michigan State University. He was also a Core Faculty Fellow at Warren Wilson College in the MA for Critical Craft Studies and a Mellon Assistant Professor of Digital Art and New Media at Vanderbilt University and held a Digital Humanities Faculty Fellowship at the Center for Digital Humanities. He is now an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance at Arizona State University, New College located on occupied territories of the Akimel O’odham and Piipaash peoples.
Lizz Denneau is an artist and art educator residing in the Sonoran Southwest. She received her BFA in Art and Visual Culture Education from the University of Arizona and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the summer of 2023. She is also a member of the Art21 Educators Institute. Drawing upon her ancestors in her artistic practice, she is continually researching narratives from the diaspora of human perseverance, vulnerability, hidden histories, and power dynamics. She translates her findings into a visual language for the viewer to examine and commune with through works that are often manifesting in heavy adornment, assemblage, and textiles inspired by her time as a fashion designer. In her current body of work, she examines the relationship historical racism has with the development of respectability politics and its reverberations through the Black female body.
Lizz’s art educational practice manifests through a multitude of mediums. She works with institutions and communities to develop practical models for teaching contemporary art methods, decentering the canon, and pathways for equity in art education. Her desire is that students will be able to see themselves better represented in the art world and be inspired to pursue their own artistic journeys and participate in art activism.
Safwat Saleem lives and works in Phoenix. His work utilizes an interdisciplinary practice that includes graphic design, illustration, writing, film, and sound to highlight immigrant narratives, focusing on cultural loss through assimilation. Select exhibiting institutions include Modified Arts, Phoenix; Open Data Institute at the Cartagena Data Festival, Colombia; Puffin Cultural Forum, Teaneck, NJ; Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke University, Durham, NC; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; Tempe Public Art, AZ; and Tucson Museum of Art, AZ. He founded the online Pakistani music magazine Bandbaja. Saleem was named a TED Fellow (2015 and 2013), a Define American Fellow (2023), a three-time recipient of the Rocky Mountain Emmy (2022 and 2021), an eleven-time recipient of the American Advertising Award (2023, 2022, 2021, 2015), a Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards Finalist (2017), and an Arizona Commission on the Arts Research and Development Grant recipient (2023).
About Southwest Contemporary
Southwest Contemporary is the leading resource for contemporary arts and culture in the Southwest. Headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico and in print since 1992, Southwest Contemporary publishes curated and critical perspectives on contemporary arts and culture throughout the Southwest, supports Southwest-based artists and arts organizations through their print and digital platforms, and produces events and career development programming. In print, Southwest Contemporary publishes a biannual regional magazine and the annual New Mexico Field Guide. Online, southwestcontemporary.com publishes weekly arts news, an art events calendar, and a classifieds page that lists opportunities for artists and the creative sector.
Third Thursdays are presented in collaboration with KXCI Community Radio.