Through Summer 2020

Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist

Trevor Shimizu, Memoir, 2005–2017. Single channel video, color, silent, 6:23 minutes, 32 inch monitor, oil on canvas, 72 × 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal.

Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist is an addendum to the ICA exhibition recently on view at the Kunsthalle Lissabon in Portugal as part of the initiative I is for Institute. The exhibition brings together a selection of Shimizu’s videos, video paintings, and online interventions, offering a prescient and poignant commentary on affect and identity in our socially mediated moment.

While Shimizu is recognized primarily for his paintings and drawings, the artist’s media works — often produced using lo- and off-the-shelf digital technologies — help to reframe his broader practice as an expanded form of performance. The dry humor that permeates much of his work thus acts as a kind of mask for his critical investigation into identity and the presentation of the self, and his deadpan delivery sometimes makes it difficult to discern Trevor Shimizu the individual from the artist as character. Contrary to the negative associations often conjured by angry inter- net subcultures, Shimizu’s “characters” render a more vulnerable depiction of mediated masculine subjectivity. His self-conscious and often self-effacing portrayals — from the passive fan and rejected romantic to his sentimental renderings of fatherhood and his idealized fantasies of other possible selves — speak to shared insecurities and a collective need to belong.

Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist is organized by Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE ’60) Curator. The exhibition will be accompanied by the forthcoming related publication Broadcasting: EAI at ICA, co-developed with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and designed by Geoff Han.

Support for the research and development of I is for Institute has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

About the Artist

Trevor Shimizu (b. 1978; lives Long Island City, NY) has had solo shows at the Rowhouse Project, Baltimore; and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen. His work has been exhibited at Electronic Arts Intermix; the White Columns Annual; the Whitney Biennial; the Queens Museum of Art, New York; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.


Kunsthalle Lissabon is supported by República Portuguesa, Direção-Geral das Artes, FfAI, and Coleção Maria e Armando Cabral.


Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist is an extension of I is for Institute, a landmark international initiative researched and developed with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Installation Views

Featured Works

Organized in collaboration with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), each month ICA will highlight a different video online as an extension of the exhibitions Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist on view at ICA until May 10 and the Kunsthalle Lissabon until February 1.

Trevor Shimizu. Brad Pitt, 2009, 1-channel video on monitor, color, sound, 4:07 minutes. Courtesy of the artist and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI)

Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 6:30PM–8PM
Screening Program: EAI Influences, 2005-2012
Programming at ICA has been made possible in part by the Emily and Jerry Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts and the Lise Spiegel Wilks and Jeffrey Wilks Family Foundation, and by Hilarie L. & Mitchell Morgan.