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2016 Marva and John Warnock Artist in Residence, Mark Brest van Kempen, to give free public lecture as part of semester-long visit.

By Marina Gomberg, associate director of communications and marketing, University of Utah College of Fine Arts

On Feb. 9, 2016, at 7 p.m., the University of Utah Department of Art & Art History’s Marva and John Warnock Artist in Residence, Mark Brest van Kempen will give a free public lecture about his work as an environmental artist in the Gould Auditorium of the Willard Marriott Library. This lecture is part of the Department of Art & Art History’s semester-long Artist in Residency program and is in partnership with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ new ArtLandish series.

A former Utahn and graduate of the University of Utah, Brest van Kempen is “excited and honored” to be chosen for this elite residency. He is looking forward to working with the students and collaborating with others on several large-scale projects in which he will work directly with Utah’s beautifully rich and diverse environment as his material.

Last week, Brest van Kempen brought his creative practice to Salt Lake City, and will be working directly with the College of Fine Arts, students and faculty in the Department of Art & Art History, the campus community and the community at large through the rest of this semester.

Brest van Kempen is the fourth artist selected for this biannual residency program that aims to expose students to new, innovative and diverse contemporary art practices, while providing an opportunity for trilateral exchange amongst students, faculty and the public at large. The artist-in-residence will lead a master class that takes the form of intensive workshops throughout the semester.

In the master course titled Art in the Real World students and others will create a variety of public projects that explore historical and contemporary ideas of making and presenting art. Some of the questions to be explored include: What is art? How does art function in society? What are some new ways that artists can function in society?  How does an artist get permission to do strange things in public? Does anyone outside of school care about what I’m doing? What am I in for when I leave school? Participants will begin to explore these and other questions posed for the 21st century artist while creating and presenting work directly in the public outside normal art venues.

The Marva and John Warnock Endowed Artist in Residence selection committee members feel very fortunate to have Brest van Kempen and are deeply grateful to the Warnock family for their generous support. Because of the Warnocks, the Department of Art History to have ongoing opportunities to engage with artists of this stature and to give students time to engage with Brest van Kempen over the course of a semester exploring contemporary dialogues and practices.


Brest van Kempen has created a variety of artworks using the landscape itself as sculptural material. From the “Free Speech Monument” on the University of California, Berkeley campus to Land Exchange at the National Academy of Art in China, his work explores the range of emotions and issues that are embodied in our complex relationship to the environment, land and place. He has received numerous commissions for permanent public art projects including the San Francisco Art Commission, the city of Palo Alto, the city of Seattle, the Haas Foundation and was recently invited by the German government to submit designs for a national reunification monument in Leipzig. He has spoken around the country and abroad on the possibilities of creating artwork that functions outside the museum/gallery context and that brings aesthetic and symbolic meaning to everyday situations. His work has been presented in several books including Lucy Lippard’s “The Lure of the Local” and Peter Selz’s “Art of Engagement” as well as many publications including TIME, The New York Times, Art in America, and the LA Times. Exit Art in New York, The Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena and The Richmond Art Center have featured his performance “project Living From Land” in which he lived entirely from the land in a wilderness area for one month. Brest van Kempen was Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts and has received a California Arts Council Fellowship. He has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts and Stanford University.