2023 Visiting Artist Exhibitions
Two exhibitions by artists Chiraag Bhakta and Genevieve de Leon
Designing the Dream State
The Whitney Artist-in-Residence Exhibition: Chiraag Bhakta
February 23 – March 25
This exhibition features new work created by Chiraag Bhakta during his tenure as the Hartford Art School’s inaugural Whitney Artist-in-Residence. Graduating from HAS in 1999 with a degree in graphic design, Chiraag is now expanding his understanding of design beyond graphics. Designing the Dream State looks at empire building, specifically the evolution of South Asian-American identities post 1965, when new immigration policies were designed to bring highly educated South Asians to the U.S. in pursuit of the “American Dream.” The exhibition includes new work in video, sculpture, screenprinting, and assemblage, alongside Bhakta’s ongoing photo-documentary series, The Arch Motel Project. Taken together, the artwork sheds light on the many ways that design enters our everyday lives, from banal marketing to the construction of personal memories.
The exhibition opens in Joseloff Gallery with a reception on Thursday, February 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.
The exhibition and related programming are made possible by the International Distinguished Artist Symposium and Exhibition Fund and the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund held by Hartford Art School Endowment, Inc.
About the Artist: Chiraag Bhakta
Chiraag Bhakta is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is rooted in collecting objects and stories from various times and environments. Raised in an independent motel on a New Jersey freeway surrounded by a rotation of extended family, Bhakta received his BFA in Graphic Design from the Hartford Art School in 1999. While working as a graphic designer he has been exploring his own work, at times under the pseudonym *Pardon My Hindi. His work varies in medium, including printmaking, collage, photography and assemblage. His work has been shown at the Whitney Museum, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Brooklyn Museum, among other institutions.
A Conversation with Chiraag Bhakta
Thursday, March 2, 5:00pm, Joseloff Gallery
Join Gallery Director Dr. Carrie Cushman for a conversation with Chiraag Bhakta to learn more about new artwork that Bhakta has created at the Hartford Art School during his tenure as the Whitney Artist-in-Residence.
Artist Panel: Whose Dream Are We Living?
Friday, March 24, 2:00pm, Wilde Auditorium
Artists from immigrant backgrounds Chiraag Bhakta, Genevieve de Leon, and Arshia Fatima Haq discuss the expectations and responsibilities that they inherit from families who have instilled in them the pursuit of “the American Dream.” Moderated by Anuradha Vikram.
Vijay Iyer + Wadada Leo Smith: Prism 1965
Wednesday, April 12, 7:30pm, Millard Auditorium
To Order the Days / Para Ordenar Los Días
The 2022-23 Georgette and Richard Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts Exhibition: Genevieve De Leon
February 23 – March 25
Donald and Linda Silpe Gallery
The Georgette and Richard Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts is an annual artist-in-residency program that brings prominent artists to teach at the Hartford Art School. During her tenure as the 2022-23 Koopman Chair in the Painting Department, Genevieve de Leon has produced solo and collaborative artwork focused on the knowledge–intellectual and embodied–that she has received as part of her study of the Maya calendrical cycles. Maya cosmology, mathematics, and mythology are at the center of an ancient Indigenous knowledge system that is vast and geared to help us locate our place in the cosmos. De Leon’s practice is the outgrowth of her study of this ever-evolving knowledge and her desire to place it in conversation with other systems of knowledge. The exhibition To Order the Days / Para Ordenar Los Días features de Leon’s newly completed, large-scale paintings of constellations in the Maya Zodiac, alongside her multimedia collaborations with students at the Hartford Art School; Indigenous artists in the Native Youth Arts Collective; and the University of Connecticut’s Milky Way Laboratory.
The exhibition opens in Silpe Gallery with a reception on Thursday, February 23, from 5 to 7 p.m.
The exhibition and associated programming are made possible by the Georgette and Richard Koopman Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts fund held by Hartford Art School Endowment, Inc.
About the Artist: Genevieve de LeonGenevieve de Leon is an artist and MFA graduate from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design Main Gallery and DC Artspace, among other galleries. Her writing has appeared in such publications as the Midway Atlas and H+N Magazine. She works on community-based projects and is a member of the Burn Something Collective.
Cosmic Hearth: Sky Knowledge Across Traditions—A Talk Series
Held in conjunction with the 2023 Koopman Chair Genevieve de Leon’s exhibition, To Order the Days / Para Ordenar Los Días, this talk series offers Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on the cosmos. Traditional Indigenous storytellers and knowledge keepers will share stories and insight that reconnects us to the sky. Western scholars will give reports from their fields, framing their knowledge as a furthering of long-standing inquiries about the cosmos. This series is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by the University Interdisciplinary Studies Program.
Gina KanBalam Miranda (Mayan)
Friday, February 24, 5-6 p.m.
Genevieve de Leon’s teacher, Gina KanBalam Miranda (Mayan) has worked as a Mayan day keeper, or Aj-kin, for the last 30 years. In this talk, she will share her knowledge and insight about the stars in order to reconnect us with the sky.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the below talk has been CANCELLED.
Rocky Makes Room For Them (Sicangu Lakota)
Monday, February 27, 5-6 p.m.
Rocky Makes Room For Them is an enrolled Sicangu Lakota from the community of Spring Creek on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. He is a first language Lakota speaker, musician, artist, and counselor, and currently serves as the classroom liaison for the Medicine Wheel Mental Health Program. In this talk, he will share stories and insight about the stars in order to reconnect us with the sky.
Dr. Daniel Anglés-Alcázar
*NEW DATE: Wednesday, March 1, 5-6 p.m., Silpe Gallery
Daniel Anglés-Alcázar leads the Computational Galaxy Formation Group at the University of Connecticut. As a group, they routinely develop large numerical simulations and analysis tools to understand the multi-scale physical processes that govern galaxy evolution, from the growth and impact of feedback from central supermassive black holes to the large-scale structure of the Universe. In this talk, he will report on his research in relation to long-standing inquiries about the cosmos.
*This talk was originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 28th, but was postponed to March 1st due to the snowstorm.
Koopman Artist Talk + Community Dinner
Thursday, March 23. 5-6:30 p.m. (talk), 7pm (dinner)
In conjunction with the exhibition, community members are invited to attend a talk by Genevieve de Leon in Auerbach Auditorium (Hillyer Hall) followed by the Koopman Community Dinner. The buffet-style dinner starts at 7 p.m. in the 1877 Club, following the artist talk. Reservations are required, for more information please email Amanda Lusteg at Lusteg@hartford.edu.