Lesley MFA June 2021 Residency

June 2021 Public Programs can be viewed on YouTube

June 20: MFA Faculty Laurel Sparks
June 21: Visiting Faculty Evan Garza
June 22: Visiting Artist Lee Mingwei
June 23: Visiting Artist Michelle Grabner

Art Talks speaker bios



Evan Garza is a DC-based curator, writer, and a 2021-2022 Fulbright U.S. Scholar at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (IMMA). He and Ryan N. Dennis are the co-curators and Artistic Directors of the 2021 Texas Biennial. Garza has held curatorial positions at Rice University in Houston, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, and SMFA at Tufts. He co-founded Fire Island Artist Residency, the first residency program in the world exclusively for LGBTQ+ artists.



Lee Mingwei's work focuses on the formation and contemplation of human relationships. His pieces typically involve situations that invite participants to reflect upon their connections with others, or prompt them to create new connections with strangers. Solo exhibitions of his include those at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Mori Art Museum in Tokyo; Centre Pompidou in Paris; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; and the Gardner Museum in Boston. 



Michelle Grabner uncovers new dynamic relationships in her work through her visionary practice of repetition. Major group exhibitions of hers include those at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate St. Ives, UK; and Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland. Grabner co-curated the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and is the founder and co-director of two non-profit art spaces: The Suburban and The Poor Farm. She is the Senior Chair of the SAIC Department of Painting.



Denise Markonish is the senior curator at MASS MoCA. Her exhibitions include Trenton Doyle Hancock: Mind of the Mound; Nick Cave: Until; Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder; Jim Shaw: Entertaining Doubts; Teresita Fernández: As Above So Below; Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum; Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle: Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned With; These Days: Elegies for Modern Times; and Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape

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June 2021

Visiting Faculty:

Evan Garza

Over the last fifteen years, Garza has curated several exhibitions nationally, including "PAINT THINGS: Beyond the Stretcher," co-curated with Dina Deitsch for deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, "william cordova: this one’s 4U (pa’ nosotros)" at Boston Center for the Arts, and projects at several galleries and nonprofit art centers. 

The Artist's Voice: Steve Locke and Evan Garza

June 2021 residency thematic:


"For me, resilience doesn’t feel so different from belief, magic, or wonder – all systems that allow the ineffable to exist in the world, while allowing us to have private and collective experiences simultaneously. I think the poetics of resilience is more important now than ever, not just because we are in the wake of a worldwide pandemic; but because even before this unfathomable moment, the world was in trouble in deeply systematic ways spanning human and planetary rights."

Denise Markonish

Jan 2021 Art Talks with: 

Rebecca Belmore

Ruth Erickson  

Eric N. Mack

Doris Salcedo

From our Video Archive

"Art as a Civic Practice" Symposium, 2020 

Trenton Doyle Hancock & JooYoung Choi,


Ben Sloat & Jerry Saltz, 2020

Ursula von Rydingsvard, 2020

Mark Dion, 2018

Diana al-Hadid, 2018


by Mary Oliver

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.