Some of my most recent work is made to be ‘seen’ with your eyes closed. This weekend I’m excited to present “Guided,” an exploratory visualization into the emotional architecture of the human body at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. The event is part of the MCA’s 50th Anniversary event, MCA <3 Chicago, and is a live version of the sound installation I created for Gallery 400 last year. To participate, you’ll need to arrive before regular Museum hours – we’ll meet at 9am at the MCA’s lower level on Saturday, October 22nd. The event is free, but space is limited. Reserve your spot here: https://mcachicago.org/Calendar/2017/10/MCA-Hearts-Chicago/Christa-Donner-Guided
This Fall, I'll be leading generative workshops and participatory performances almost every week and in multiple locations, so mark your calendars!
The Art of Making it Work: Reimagining Participation and Production as Artist Parents
September 17th, 2017, 11am-3pm
Extended Practice Series
Chicago Family Picnic, 3701 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL
As part of my work with Cultural ReProducers and in partnership with the project Extended Practice, I'll lead an idea-generating conversation and strategy-building workshop about “making it work” as a parent and artist. Participants will explore existing artist-led initiatives that address the challenges of artist-parenthood, and will reflect on their own experiences with balancing art-making and child-rearing. Through individual and collaborative activities, participants will identify key needs and desires of artists parents and will develop new models for creating a more sustainable artistic life in Chicago. The workshop includes on-site childcare through Present Place Chicago, and a networking lunch for participants.
Many Possible Futures
September 30th, 2017, 3pm-5pm
Compound Yellow + Self Reliance School
244 Lake St., Oak Park, IL
October 16th, 2017
The Mothernists II: Who Cares for the 21st Century?
Astrid Noack's Atelier, Copenhagen, Denmark
What futures do we hope our children might help to build, and what models can we offer them as a starting point? What do youthful visions of the future bring to the conversation? In the midst of social, environmental, and political unrest, parenting artists and educators play a critical role in activating public imagination while also mindfully engaging the next generation. The goal of this workshop is to identify resonant spaces where these points might intersect. Participants will engage in a series of short writing and drawing exercises as an aid toward imagining, action, and further conversation. Shared responses will become part of a collective archive and small-press publication I'll be producing as part of my work with Cultural ReProducers and the collective Temporary Services through their publishing project, Half Letter Press.
This event is designed for adults raising or otherwise working with young people. The workshop hosted by Compound Yellow + Self-Reliance School includes a special concurrent program for children 4-7 years old. Children will create a multimedia timeline with art education students while the adults work in a separate room, before regrouping for shared conversation.
Ecological Storytelling: Imaginative Experiments for All Ages
October 7th, 2017
UWM Terra Incognita + Bubbler Series
Madison Central Public Library
201 W Mifflin St, Madison, WI
I'll be collaborating with artist and scientist Andrew Yang to lead this hands-on workshop exploring unexpected connections between the things in your everyday life and our natural, artificial, cultural, and imaginable. During this two-hour workshop, co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin, Madison's Terra Incognita series and the Madison Public Library's Bubbler program, participants of all ages will work together to explore the ecological webs that connect through our lives. Through open-ended prompts, participants will collaboratively devise stories from a blend of drawing, collage, and game playing to spark inter-generational conversation and ecological thinking. In this time of environmental complexity, we need new ways of telling stories that connect us to each other and to our futures, pasts, and present environment. This playful approach to ecological narratives involves the complex, non-linear, and indeterminate. Let’s make art together to invent new relations and new ways of learning!
Of Possible Futures: Imagining How to Get There
November 2, 2017
Berea College, Berea, KY
I'm honored to speak about my work into imaginative time travel as part of the Berea College Convocation Series this November. The lecture will be the keynote for a symposium exploring artistic economies, parenthood and creativity organized by artist Sarah Irvin, who is undertaking an intensive project with the school's community of students raising children. More information: https://www.berea.edu/convocations/convocations-calendar-2017-2018/christa-donner/
I'll be showing a series of original works on paper and the resulting postcards I created for my project, "The Redistribution of Curiosity" as part of the exhibition Articulating Time and Space at the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago this Fall. The exhibition is curated by artist Paola Cabal and physicist Kathryn Schafferin conjunction with the studio/science hybrid course they teach together at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Works are culled from course projects in relation to artists and designers pursuing similar concerns in their practices. From the website:
Where are we in the universe? Is "now" different from other times in cosmic history? To a degree, physics can answer these questions. Yet in doing so, it unsettles and upends our everyday intuitions about how time and space work. Special and general relativity propose radically unfamiliar conceptions of the spacetime structure of our world, while empirical and theoreticalmethods in physics research reach far beyond what humans can sense or even visualize. Articulating Time and Space addresses the ways we personally experience and react to this process of unsettling and upending.
The show will be on view from October 3 - 24, 2017 at the Sullivan Galleries, 33 S State Street, 7th Floor, Chicago, IL. Join us for a closing reception on Saturday, October 21st from 1:30 - 3pm.
From October 19-22 you can catch a minimalist version of my most recent collaboration with Andrew Yang, Spacetimeshipcapsule 20016, which will be part of the exhibition Poor Connection at Four Boxes Gallery at Krabbesholm Højskole in Skive, Denmark. The piece was originally created for the show Poor and Needy, curated by Lise Haller Baggesen and Yvette Brackman around a gigantic old boiler in the basement of the Poor Farm in Little Wolf, WI, and explores the night sky, radiator music, and children's play as entry points to shifting experience through time and space. Keep your eyes peeled for a beautiful catalogue from the show coming out later this year.
Before the show opens you can find me in Copenhagen, where I'll present a time traveling workshop for mothers as part of the conference Mothernists II: Who Cares for the 21st Century? co-sponsored by the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and Astrid Noack's Atelier (ANA) with a dream team of amazing participants. You can find the program for that event here.
I'm super pleased to be a part of Ohne Kraft, keine Kekse, or Without Power, No Cookies, alongside the fabulous Vesna Jovanovic, Howard Fonda, and Matthew Girson - opens tomorrow night at Slow. Bonus: their special home-brewed beer, created to fit the show's theme (and I hear there will also be some actual cookies). If you're in Chicago, come join us! Slow is located at 2153 W. 21st Street in Chicago, and the show's on view from May 20 - June 17, 2017 by appointment. For more information: https://www.paul-is-slow.info/
Using ink, polypropylene and transparent vinyl to activate the walls, floor, and full-length modernist windows of Cleve Carney Gallery in Glen Ellyn, IL this March, I look forward to creating a new site-specific installation for Mirrorface, a three-woman exhibition of autobiographical work featuring work by Keiler Roberts, Sarah McEneaney, and myself. The exhibition runs from March 9th - April 13th, 2017 with an all-ages opening reception on Saturday, March 11th from 1-3pm. You can get a sneak peak into our work for the show in the video below:
Opening September 9th, 2016, this solo exhibition represents four years of exploration into the complexities of the human organism, investigating collectivities and spaces for new forms of human sociality. From Gallery 400:
Using paper as a tool to both investigate and imagine, Donner employs drawing, collage, printmaking, small-press publications, and large scale installation. Colorful image-scenes propose models of community that move beyond current anthropocentric and capitalist systems, while intricately cut paper structures are used to cast shadows of new constructions. These projected images expand into the physical space of the Gallery, incorporating tables stacked with research materials referencing science fiction, adventure playgrounds, activist projects, and the female-run social structures of wasps, ants, and bees as sources that might direct us toward ways of imaging our communities of the future. For the duration of the exhibition in a dedicated room of the gallery, somatic ‘tours’ will guide visitors through their own visualizations of the hidden architecture of the human body, linking structural and sensory worlds.
Our New System is accompanied by this interview-based publication (download pdf) and received a glowing review in the Chicago Tribune.
For more information and images on the show, plus a whole lot of intergenerational and childcare-supported events I had a hand in: http://gallery400.uic.edu/exhibitions/our-new-system
If you find yourself in Berlin, please join me on Saturday, November 28th for a pop-up exhibition of my latest work at the lovely Aviatrix Atelier. Combining ink and pigment in combination with light and shadow, Seeing (between) Knowing is a paper cabinet of curiosities is informed by my ongoing visual research as well as conversations with scholars at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, where I am working as Artist in Residence this Fall and into the new year.
There will be an informal opening event at on Saturday afternoon, November 28th between 14-17h. Or, you can stop by to see the work there anytime during the weekend (28-29 Nov) between 12 noon and 20h to see the show – just enter through the café and make a left. Aviatrix Atelier is located at Herrfurth Str. 13 in the vibrant Neuköln neighborhood, just down the road from Tempelhof Park.
Aviatrix is a very family-friendly space, organised by a collective of parents in the arts (another interest of mine). In the loft gallery above the café you will find a mini-exhibition of work by children who participated in Kunst- und Wunderkammern themed programs at Aviatrix, culminating in a hands-on Collective Curiosity workshop I led there last week. The results were pretty amazing.
This fall I have been invited to spend four months as Artist in Residence at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where I am working on a new project called the ReDistribution of Curiosity, based on the research of MPI scholars and in my own explorations of contemporary Berlin.
The project will culminate in a trunkload of drawings, a set of disseminatable postcards, a collection and curiosity workshop, and a pop-up exhibition at the excellent artist-parent-run space Aviatrix Atelier in Neuköln. More information as the work develops!