News Release

First Institutional Survey of Video Work by Artist Trevor Shimizu Staged Between Lisbon and Philadelphia Opens This Winter, Presented by Institute of Contemporary Art

November 1, 2019
Philadelphia, PA

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Kunsthalle Lissabon in Portugal, ICA is one of four arts organizations invited to participate in a pioneering partnership to test and examine how geographical and organizational differences challenge notions of institutional identity. From November 20, 2019 through February 1, 2020, ICA will take over the Kunsthalle’s exhibition space and digital platforms, transforming the Lisbon institution into an extension of its Philadelphia building to present Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist, the first exhibition devoted to the artist’s video work. In addition to this intercontinental presentation, ICA will stage an addendum to the exhibition in the museum’s Project Space in Philadelphia from January 25 through May 10, 2020.

“We understand dialogue as a very productive force,” wrote João Mourão and Luís Silva, co-founding directors of Kunsthalle Lissabon, in a joint statement. “Collaborations are very important to us in the sense they represent dialogues made visible and, more importantly, made public. We collaborate mostly with similar institutions, like- minded platforms who are committed to thinking critically about the world and the place contemporary art has in it.”

Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist presents more than twenty works dating from the early 2000s to the present, including 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 wryly humorous paintings and drawings, the artist’s media works help to reframe his broader practice as an expanded form of performance. Although his time-based works are often produced using lo-fi and off-the-shelf digital technologies, they resonate with the strategies employed by an earlier generation of video artists such as Dan Graham, William Wegman, and Shigeko Kubota. Like artists who picked up Portapacks and camcorders in previous decades, Shimizu uses the tools at hand both to record actions for the camera and to employ the language of mass media for other means.

“Trevor Shimizu’s media works not only shed light on his practice as a kind of performance of the figure of the artist, but also his unique reflection on male vulnerability and the construction of the self,” said Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE’60) Curator at ICA. “This is especially resonant in our current moment in which social connectivity risks atomization and alienation, speaking to shared insecurities and a collective need to belong.”