In collaboration with Art on the Underground and Contemporary Art Society
Mexican-born and New York-based artist Aliza Nisenbaum will discuss her practice and its relevance to the current political climate in the United States with Oliver Basciano, International Editor for ArtReview.
This event relates to Nisenbaum’s first UK public commission by Art on the Underground, opening on 10 April until September 2019 and Contemporary Art Society’s acquisition of a major new painting by Nisenbaum for Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery in 2018.
Influenced by the Mexican mural movement and its depiction of social history, Nisenbaum’s work probes the politics of representation by bringing together often-marginalized or overlooked groups of people to the fore in exquisitely painted portraits. She has continued this practice for her new commission where she was artist-in-residence, living and working in Brixton from 15 December 2018 until 27 February 2019. Through an open call, Nisenbaum then selected 15 members from Transport for London staff from Brixton station and the Victoria line – from train drivers, customer service staff, cleaners – who, over several hours, were individually painted in her studio to create a large-scale group portrait specifically for the entrance of Brixton Underground station.
Through her artistic process, Nisenbaum seeks to transform the traditional artist-sitter relationship by creating works which challenge the hierarchies of portraiture. For her, the process of painting portraits from live sittings is a reciprocal act, one that sets up an ethical encounter in which both participants give their attention and trust, and learn about one another.
Nisenbaum is the second commission in a new series at Brixton, following ‘Remain, Thriving’, 2018, a new site specific work from Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The programme selects artists to respond to the diverse narratives of the murals from the 1980s, the rapid development of the area and the wider social and political history of mural making.
Aliza Nisenbaum (b. 1977 Mexico City) lives and works in Harlem, New York. Nisenbaum completed a BFA and MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Recently she has presented her work at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Minneapolis Institute of Art; Whitney Biennial 2017, New York; The Flag Art Foundation, New York; Institute of Contemporary Arts at Maine College of Art; Biennial of the Americas, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; Rufino Tamayo Painting Biennial, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; and is represented by Anton Kern gallery, New York and Mary Mary, Glasgow. She is Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Columbia.
Oliver Basciano is a writer based in London. Since 2010 he has worked at ArtReview magazine where he is currently International Editor. He also regularly contributes to the news, arts and obituary desks of The Guardian and Daily Telegraph and has authored numerous artist monographs. He was recently a member of the 2018 Turner Prize jury and chaired the 2017 Artes Mundi prize jury.