Art Papers Learn

Michael Jones McKean & Sarah Higgins in Conversation

Join us Thursday, June 6 at 2 pm ET for a Contributor Conversation on Instagram Live. Michael Jones McKean will join our Executive + Artistic Director Sarah Higgins to discuss McKean’s guest edited theme: Reworlding. Higgins and McKean will also chat about how his practices as an artist, a researcher, and an educator informed the theme, particularly Twelve Earths—his planetary sculpture scaled to Earth itself.

Reworlding—Art Papers’ first exclusively online “issue”—considers that long before a shared scientific understanding of Earth existed, humans acknowledged an emergent concept of World: a conceptual threshold that encompassed life’s full spectrum of spatial, material, and spiritual possibilities. In only a few generations, humans have unlocked a set of capacities that have set in motion vertigo-inducing changes that have, in turn, radically altered our cosmovisions—our imaginary of Earth, and how to live on it. The root of these shifts is not a single event, but many intersecting moments that broadly encompass the scientific, religio-spiritual, technologic, ethical, political, geologic, ecologic, economic, and cultural. Together, these moments have precipitated a planetary turn; a new conception Earth as a geophysical assemblage, one that can be studied, measured, gridded, quickly traversed, sensed, and subjected to extraction. The planetary, for better and worse, has become our de facto vision of World.

Michael Jones McKean is an artist, researcher, teacher, and geographer. McKean is an associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he has taught in the Sculpture + Extended Media Department since 2006. McKean is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Foundation Award, an Artadia Award, and a Virginia A. Groot Foundation Award. McKean has been awarded fellowships and residencies at The Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The MacDowell Colony; The International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York; The Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center; The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts; and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in New York.

McKean’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include ones at Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Parc Saint Leger Centre d’art Contemporain, Nevers, France; The Quebec Biennale, Quebec City, Canada; The Art Foundation, Athens, Greece; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX; Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Canada; Project Gentili, Prato, Italy; The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.