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Meet the Artist: Edgar Arceneaux

February 24, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will host a “Meet the Artist” event as part of U’s Black History Month with Los Angeles-based Edgar Arceneaux, a rising star in the art world who will create a new sculpture at the law school to represent Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

The project is part of the S.J. Quinney College of Law’s mission to promote justice and access to justice in society. The sculpture will be funded through the generosity of donors who approached the law school with a desire to contribute funds to commission of a sculpture in the newly opened facility to celebrate diversity and to build on the theme of justice visible through King Jr.’s quote on display in the school’s sixth floor moot courtroom. Arceneaux’s concept, “The Crystal Paradox,” will incorporate law books, letters about Dr. King and other artistic elements to bring a visual story of justice alive. Arceneaux’s proposal was selected from a pool of artists from around the world who offered submissions and ideas for the sculpture.

Arceneaux will discuss his vision for the project —as well as his path as an artist —at the event, which is open to the public and University of Utah community.

A reception with light refreshments will follow the presentation in the first floor atrium of the law school building.

Media parking available on east side of building. Contact Melinda Rogers (melinda.rogers@utah.edu) to reserve your space in advance.


Edgar Arceneaux was born in Los Angeles in 1972. He investigates historical patterns through drawings, installations, and multimedia events, such as the reenactment of Ben Vereen’s tragically misunderstood blackface performance at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Inaugural Gala. In the artist’s work, linear logic is abandoned in favor of wordplay and visual associations, revealing how language, technology, and systems of ordering produce reality as much as describe them. Seemingly disparate elements—such as science fiction, civil rights era speeches, techno music, and the crumbling architecture of Detroit—find a new synchronicity in the artist’s hands, ultimately pointing to larger historical forces such as the rise of the surveillance state. Arceneaux’s installations have taken the form of labyrinths, libraries, multi-channel videos, and drawn landscapes that change over the course of an exhibition, only ever offering a partial view of the whole at any given moment. This fragmentation extends to the artist’s use of historical research in his work, such as FBI documents concerning civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., where redacted passages are presented on mirrors that reflect the viewer’s curious gaze.

Edgar Arceneaux attended the California Institute of the Arts (MFA, 2001), Fachhochschule Aachen (2000), the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1999), and Art Center College of Design (BFA, 1996). Arceneaux’s awards and residencies include the Malcolm McLaren Award from Performa (2015), Rauschenberg Residency (2013), United States Artists Fellowship (2007), ArtPace Residency (2006), Joyce Award (2005), and a Creative Capital Grant (2005). Arceneaux has had major exhibitions at MIT LIST Center for Contemporary Art (2016); Performa (2015); Biennale de Montreal (2014); Shanghai Biennale (2014); MoCA Detroit (2011); Bienal de São Paulo (2011); and the Whitney Biennial (2008). Arceneaux lives and works in Pasadena, CA, USA.


February 24, 2017
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Event Category:


S.J. Quinney College of Law
383 South University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
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