I'm an artist, writer, teacher, and publisher. I make public exhibitions at arts institutions, recently FIRST CLASS, SECOND THOUGHTS, INTERMINABLE SWELL at Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2017); Greater New York at MoMA PS1, New York (2015-16); Area Variance at Kunstverein Munich (2015); Whitney Biennial at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014); Why bother? at Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp (2013-14); and Angie Keefer at Yale Union, Portland (2013). My talks, public events, and various collaborations with other artists have also been produced at Artists Space, New York (2015); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2014); Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2013); and the São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2012), among others. My writing appears in a few artists' books and magazines. The latter include Mousse, Harvard Design Magazine, and The Bulletins—the bi-annual house journal of The Serving Library, a non-profit artists' educational organization I co-founded in 2010, now based in Liverpool. I got a BA from Yale University (1999) after graduating from the Alabama School of Fine Arts (1995), a public high school for the arts in Birmingham, Alabama. I've taught at The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, and Yale School of Art, New Haven, and conducted seminars, workshops, and lectures at numerous other universities, art schools, and biennials in the US, Europe, and South America. Some of my work is for hire, the rest is either free or for sale. I'm easy to reach.

January 21 - March 26, 2017
Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Video, 00:05:58.
Script adapted from Luc Boltanski’s On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation (2011), narrated via modified IBM Watson Text to Speech API, “Allison." “Summertime” (George Gershwin, 1934) performed by Anne Brown with the Decca Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Smallens, 1940; Ray Conniff and His Orchestra & Chorus, 1960; and Simon Gale & Vienna Symphonic Rock Orchestra, 2006.

Neon sign, 36" x 7" x 4.5".
Fabricated by The Neon Factory, Winnipeg

Wooden frame and chroma key screen (14' x 8' x 8'), studio lights, HD camera, live video feed, DV monitors, video loop, dimensions variable.

Exhibition photos by Karen Archer.

FIRST CLASS, SECOND THOUGHTS, INTERMINABLE SWELL is an exhibition of new work by Angie Keefer, an artist admired for her deep discursive engagement in the visual arts. Her work moves between design and publishing, writing, performance, installation, and teaching, and is often unsettled in its reflexive linking of symbolic or material form with the fluctuating activity of financial and knowledge markets.

Three new works are presented as a unified exhibition divided among two distinct spaces, separating the viewer’s experiences as witness and performer. FIRST CLASS, SECOND THOUGHTS, INTERMINABLE SWELL occupies Plug In ICA’s exhibition breezeway on a monitor wall and our street front gallery, which Keefer turns into a production studio and showroom. These complex works capture and project the image of their audience, implicating viewers in a historic trajectory leading towards the contemporary, commercial delineation of first class status.

FIRST CLASS is a video centered on the representation and development of the chaise lounge. Using art historical images, from the earliest known depictions of a kline appearing on Greek pottery, to post-Enlightenment paintings of reclining women, Keefer constructs a visual history underlying the design and marketing of modern, first class airline seating. While a montage of these images passes through a small but ornate gilded frame on a stark white wall, a voiceover script adapted from a passage in sociologist Luc Boltanski’s On Critique is read by a female automaton. In this short distillation, Keefer quotes Boltanski’s formulation of class structure based on varying agency for rule-making, bending, and breaking.

A neon sculpture, SECOND THOUGHTS, intermittently flashes the word ‘second’, obscuring the word ‘thoughts’ every second second. As Keefer states, “The metaphorical transference of a numbered sequence to designate rank is misleading in the case of class, where we’re talking about one class and ‘the other’ regardless of which point of view one assumes, unlike a temporal sequence, in which first precedes second.” Both ‘first’ and ‘second’ artworks in the exhibition reference marketing innovations that apprehend our thoughts. A neon sign, the epitome of bright and flashing 24-hour storefront advertising, is used to redirect our attention to the seller’s intentions, while the development of ‘first class’ as a marketing category bluntly capitalizes on aspirational fantasies of domination.

Though the exhibition’s title implies an ordered sequence from first to second to infinity, viewers encounter the exhibition in reverse. INTERMINABLE SWELL is presented first in the breezeway, before entering the galleries proper. Over four synced monitors, a video capturing a seamlessly rolling ocean wave created from stock footage appears suspended in the interior exhibition space. Inside the gallery, is a curved, freestanding sculpture, the chroma-key blue backdrop for the video composite in the breezeway, which is continuously streamed by a live camera feed.

Keefer intentionally reverses language in relation to the viewer’s experience, thus destabilizing reference points that might otherwise orient the exhibition as a system of presentation with a conclusive logic. In a previous work, Fountain (2013), Keefer linked the variable action of videos of moving water to changes in futures markets for commodities such as wheat, rice, and oil, as well as gold and currency. When stared at for thirty seconds or longer, the waterfall images could induce a physiological aftereffect in viewers, setting the surrounding room in motion. This motion is echoed in the ghostly effect of INTERMINABLE SWELL, as it transposes the viewer from one place to another— from apparent fixity to the foreground of an endlessly progressing wave—while restricting the viewer’s vantage at any given moment to only one or the other point of view. Meanwhile, socioeconomic markers, from the chaise lounge and art historical references, to neon signage and Boltanski’s class analysis, provide a context for dislocating ourselves amidst a systemic jumble in constant flux.

Curated by Jenifer Papararo

Source: Plug In ICA


Talking <)s into Existence
Harvard Design Magazine, Issue 38
Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2014

To Whom It May Concern
A Needle Walks Into A Haystack
Liverpool: Liverpool Biennial, 2014

Whitney Biennial
New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2014

Where Were We
The Bulletins of the Serving Library, No. 6
Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2014

Found Wanting
Mousse Magazine, Issue 41
Milan: Mousse Publishing, 2014

The Old Man The Boat
The Federal
Brussels: Tulips & Roses, 2012

untitled scripts for hypnosis
Hypnotic Show
Turin: Artissima 18, 2011

Polite Terrorism
I like your work
New York: n+1 Foundation, 2009

Icons Govern Action
Dot Dot Dot 19
New York: Dexter Sinister, 2009


Angie Keefer & Liz Magic Laser
, Winter 2016-17

More interviews coming soon. Join mailing list below for announcements.


I eat to live in a Congressional swing district in rural upstate New York currently represented in the House by a Republican who won on a dishonest campaign financed by radical billionaires. (N.B. re. scale: The difference between a million dollars and a billion dollars is about a billion dollars.) Today, one can reasonably argue that paid political influence is the opposite of justice in a democracy, is in fact the opposite of democracy. But justice, like so many significant concepts, is an idea subject to change over time through the ongoing negotiation of status quo, a negotiation in which we all participate, wittingly or not. Another way of putting this is that the meaning of justice is culturally adjudicated.

The degradation of foundational concepts impacts our lives well beyond the supposed realm of lofty ideals; our conditions change in tandem with our perceptions of What Is and our judgments about What Should Be. Today, we can fathom that the opposite of poverty in all its many forms is also justice. Yet, an imposing share of those now holding top leadership positions in the United States government maintain that poverty is justice, that those who lack power and wealth, lack power and wealth as a consequence of their own moral failings and should be left, as losers, to suffer their deserved conditions under domination of self-anointed winners. (Do you agree? Maybe you think "the cream always rises," or "hard work is ultimately rewarded," or "the poor are lazy." Does it? Is it? Are we?) By the same token, fantasies of wealth attainment preoccupy our pop-cultural imagination where political possibilities for achieving increased well-being should proliferate instead. I write "should" because I'm stating a moral position.

Conscious participation in the compulsory cultural negotiation of status quo is a moral choice for artists, as for others, while unconscious participation inevitably serves to consolidate wealth and political power in fewer hands, undermining what we now—perhaps only for the time being—know as justice, which encompasses meaning itself.

The mass work of building a more just society neither progresses nor concludes with any singular act. Likewise, nothing goes very long without saying, so many must keep saying in so many ways: just ideals are eco-logical, just perspectives systemic. As an artist, and moreover as one ordinary human being, I intend the work I do to help move status quo away from distortions of justice towards ever-broader distributions of power.



- New York Times


- ARTnews


- HyperAllergic


Email: hello(at)angiekeefer(dot)com
Twitter: @angiekeefer
Instagram: @angie.keefer