Iris Yirei Hu
Los Angeles is the place I was born and raised, and has become where my paternal grandparents have been buried. Tongva Elder and Culture Bearer Tina Calderon has said that when we bury our dead, we are indebted to the place and its relations. From this critical perspective, my formal training in art and participation in a field tightly bound to wealth and power allows me to put pressure on individuals, arts organizations, universities, museums, and public entities to consider our relational dependencies and responsibilities to the lands we share. What becomes of making relationships and the work they require? To what and whom are we committed? What becomes of art, poetry, and storytelling under capitalist frameworks? The sacred is interdependent in people and nature, and what we must redeem and love.
I am a journey-based artist and educator who paints, weaves, dyes, writes, and composts my lived reality into installations, public artworks, and intercultural, generational, and geographical collaborations. I find myself returning to my hands and the stories they carry through the connections I have made and the relationships I have nurtured. I see my work in relation to a community of friends, artists, poets, scientists, lawyers, historians, keepers of traditions, and organizers. Working relationally allows me to limn connections between people, places, and practices to explore possibilities of kinship and co-creation. My slow and critical reflective practice allows me to uplift the roles of sensuality, feeling, and beauty with intention. I am interested in how storytelling and working with my hands deepens our relationships to what we experience, with whom we connect, and how we live. Using fiber, soil, and story to weave connections has become a way for me to vibe into the juicy realm of creative relation. I hope to shed light on our interdependent and entangled worlds so that we can remake our embodied and expansive relations to people, plants, and place. What if we understood the present as generations of people cultivating love and optimism through deep relation and stewardship, instead of a sequence of violent events?
2017 MFA, Visual Arts, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY
2013 BA, Art, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
SOLO | TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS
2022 Cheeky Blue Planet – Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA), New York, NY. Solo commission for inaugural “Conjurings” series.
2021 Infinite – Right Window, San Francisco, CA. Two person exhibition.
Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) in collaboration with Julia Bogany and Megan Dorame
2019 LAND, ICA LA, WE RISE, Los Angeles State Historic Park, CA.
2018 hands are full blue – Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles, CA. Solo.
2017 Survival Guide: inheritance – Feminist Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA. Solo.
2014 Survival Guide: joy – Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles, CA. Solo.
2013 The Floor and the Cane – Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, CA. Two-person exhibition.
Fourth Wall – Fourth Wall, Los Angeles, CA. Solo.
Where do People Live who Never Die? – 435 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA. Solo.
2023 Fault Lines – Patel Danceworks, Oakland, CA. Site-specific performance series. (forthcoming)
2022 Knees, Schools, Urges – The BOX Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Curated by Jennie MaryTai Liu.
Plein Air – Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, AZ. Curated by Aurora Tang.
2021 Sonia Louise Davis Selects – Green Naftali, New York, NY. Exhibition and sale to benefit the Foundation of Contemporary Arts.
Full Circle: A Return to the Land – Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens, La Cañada-Flintridge, CA. Curated by Lynn LaBate.
2020 Old Growth, New Decay – Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University, Orange, CA. Organized by Marcus Herse.
No More Land West – Arm Gallery and Visitor Welcome Center. Organized by David Bell.
Sovereign Intimacies – Plug-in ICA and Gallery 1C03, Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Curated by Nasrin Himada and Jennifer Smith.
We Introduce Ourselves to Planets and to Flowers – Make Room & Kylin Gallery, Los Angeles
2019 Paroxysm of Sublime – FLAX (France Los Angeles Exchange) in partnership with LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), Los Angeles, CA. Curated by Anna Milone and Ana Iwataki.
Breaking Bread in L.A. – OxyArts at Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. Organized by Meldia Yesayan.
Made in Asian America – Art Salon Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA. Curated by Sonia Mak and Shervin Shahbazi.
Survival Guide: Spring in The Autotopographers – John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI. Curated by Julie Niemi, Karen Patterson, and Faythe Levine.
Politically Private – Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University, Orange, CA. Curator by Marcus Herse and his Gallery Practice students.
2018 Here – Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Curated by Steve Wong.
RADIANT – Blue Roof Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Curated by Leonardo Bravo.
A Body of Her Own – Make Room, Los Angeles, CA.
2017 RETREAT – Mom’s Gallery, New York, NY. Organized by Maggie Goldstone.
Supercaliforniagilisticexpialibodcious – Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA. Organized by John Turtle.
Survival Guide: When the Sun Devours the Moon – Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University, NY, NY. Thesis. Organized by Deborah Cullen-Morales.
2016 Finished Goods Warehouse – Pfizer Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY. Organized by Natalie Bell.
First-Year Show – Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY. Organized by Amanda Parmer.
MONA – 68projects, Berlin, Germany. Curated by Quang Bao.
2015 Colored Girls – Autonomie Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Curated by Chelle Barbour.
PUBLIC ART COMMISSIONS
2022-27 LA County Metro – UCLA/Westwood Purple Line (D Line) Station
2021 LAND, ICA LA, and WE RISE – Pakook koy Peshaax (The Sun Enters the Earth and Leaves the Earth) in collaboration with Julia Bogany and Megan Dorame – Los Angeles State Historic Park, CA.
2020 Calif. State University, Dominguez Hills – 10 mural wrap commission at university student housing complex
2016 LA County Metro – Through the Eyes of Artists Poster Series: West Hollywood
2015 Clockshop – Con/Safos at the Los Angeles River, CA. Organized by Rafa Esparza and Julia Meltzer.
CURATORIAL | EDITORIAL | ORGANIZATIONAL PROJECTS
2021 An Offering to Unsettle Settlement – Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
Developed an activity to ask participants to reflect on their stories, climate, and futures while grounding them in the intimacy of their immediate environments with artists veronique d’entremont, Joel Garcia, and Debra Scacco.
Living Memorial Garden – Los Angeles State Historic Park
Organized a community project that acknowledges our collective grief of lives lost during the Covid-19 pandemic with artists veronique d’entremont, Joel Garcia, and Debra Scacco.
2019-20 emi kuriyama spirit award
Fundraised for and distributed $7,000 in grants. Organized and managed a fundraising campaign with Sue Bell Yank, Sarah Williams, and Jennifer Moon. Co-authored grant and selected review panel.
sashiko by emi kuriyama – Candor Arts, Chicago, IL
Archived work by the late writer emi kuriyama into a printed volume designed, produced, and published by Candor Arts.
2017 stutter – Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles. Co-curated group exhibition reflecting upon the sonic, bodily, and historical impositions on and limits of freedom.
2013-15 baumtest. Co-founded a quarterly experimental artist book that highlighted marginalized voices in the art community. Managed, developed, and edited content. Oversaw distribution, inventory, and financial operations. Worked closely with staff of five to produce seven printed volumes each with 50+ pages of art and writing.
2022 Lecturer – Calif. State University, Dominguez Hills, Art, Painting III & IV
Instructor – CalArts, Winter Practicum
Coach (since 2013) – Contemporary Art Start (School and Teacher Program), MOCA, Los Angeles
2021 Lecturer – University of Calif., Riverside, Visual Arts, Painting I
2020 Lecturer – Otis College of Art and Design, Fine Arts, Adv. Sculpture & New Genres
2015-20 Coach – Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS)
2019 Navajo Weaving Teacher Assistant to Melissa Cody – Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair
Navajo Weaving Teacher Assistant to Melissa Cody – Heard Museum Master Artist Workshop Series, Phoenix, AZ
2018 Teaching Artist – MOCA Sunday Studio
Teaching Artist – Women’s Center for Creative Work
Teaching Artist – Huntington Library, Art Museum & Botanical Garden
Teaching Artist – Hammer Museum Arts Party
2016 Teaching Artist – Skirball Cultural Center
Teaching Assistant – Columbia University, Visual Arts, Painting 1 and Drawing 1
VISITING ARTIST LECTURES | WORKSHOPS | PANELS
2022 University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ – Visiting Artist Lecture & Workshop, MFA Program, Fall
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA – Artist Lecture, Summer
MOCA, Tucson, AZ – Artists & Curators in Conversation: East Wing Exhibitions, May 2022
2021 CalArts, Valencia, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture, Fall
UC Santa Cruz – Visiting Artist Lecture, EASP MFA Program, Fall
Chapman University, Orange, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture & Workshop, Fall
Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles, CA – BFA Visiting Artist Lecture, Fall
CalArts, Valencia, CA – Paul Brach Visiting Artist Lecturer, Spring
Paving the Way Foundation, Lancaster, CA – Teaching Artist, May 2021
2020 Chapman University, Orange, CA – Juror – Student Departmental Juried Exhibition, Fall
Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – “weaver girl limns two rainbows,” Public Artist Talk, November 16, 2020
Chapman University, Orange, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture, Fall
Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture & Workshop, Fall
Pitzer College, Claremont, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture, Fall
Calarts, Valencia, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture, Fall
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator – Public Artist Talk, September 2020
UC Riverside, Riverside, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture, Summer
2019 Chapman University, Orange, CA – Guest Lecture, Fall
Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA – Studio Visit, Spring
2018 Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA – Visiting Artist Lecture & Workshop, Fall
UCLA Art Department – After You Graduate Panel, Spring
Make Room Gallery, Los Angeles, CA – A Body of Her Own Panel, March 2018
2017 Art Center, Pasadena, CA – Guest Lecture, Fall
analog dissident, Los Angeles, CA – Artist Talk and Performance, Summer
2015 Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, CA – Artist Periodicals, January 2015
2014 MOCA Teen Program, Los Angeles, CA – Artist Talk, October 2014
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AS AUTHOR
2022 “Grand Blue Mother” – Amerasia Journal: Asian American/Pacific Islander/Transcultural Societies: Cold War Reformations. Edited by Wendy Cheng and Crystal Mun-hye Baik. Print. (forthcoming)
2019 Foreword to sashiko by emi kuriyama. Published by Candor Arts. Print.
“Tending a Garden Requires Care: VTS, Making Art, and Deep Listening” – Visual Thinking Strategies Site Specific. January 5, 2019. Online.
2015 “All the Clocks Have Stopped at Different Times: Review of Gilda Davidian’s artist book Picturing Beirut” – The Art Book Review: Issue 4. June 2015. Online.
2014 “Code-switching between Sound/Art and Quito/Los Angeles: An Interview with Jorge Espinosa” – baumtest quarterly: Talk And Talk And—. June 2014. 40-55. Print.
2013 “The Struggle is the Destination: Interview with Audrey Chan” – baumtest quarterly: A Germ Grows into Life. December 2013. 38-55. Print.
HONORS | AWARDS
2022 Fellowship for Visual Artists (FVA), California Community Foundation
2021 Individual Artist Fellowship, California Arts Council
2020 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Covid-19 Fund Grant
2019 Paul & Daisy Fellows Association Grant
2018 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant
Finalist – Luce Scholars Program
2017 Nominee – Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, Los Angeles Initiative
2016 Paul & Daisy Soros New American Fellow
Columbia University Visual Arts Scholarship
2015 Community Engagement Artist Grant, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Los Angeles Initiative
Nominee – Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, Los Angeles Initiative
2022 Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA
2021 Vashon Artist Residency, Vashon Island, WA
2020 Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator AIR: Climate Change, Los Angeles, CA
Having Friends in the Future, Remote (Online)
Carrizozo Artist-in-Residence, Carrizozo, NM
2018 Feminist Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA
2015 Mountain School of Art, Los Angeles, CA
2022 Review: Plein Air Challenges Assumptions and Aesthetics at MOCA Tucson by Lynn Trimble. Southwest Contemporary. June 17, 2022.
2021 Climate Change-Focused Artist Residency Maps Out a New Future in the Pandemic by Carol Cheh. KCET Southland Sessions. May 11, 2021.
Crafting a Culture of Care: As we rebuild our collective life, we look to what craft can teach us by Jon Spayde. American Craft Magazine: Spring 2021. Print.
2020 Student Residence Hall Adorned with Murals Featuring Art of iris yirei hu by Paul Browning. CSUDH Campus News Center. November 18, 2020.
Make Room Gallery presents ‘We Introduce Ourselves to Planets and to Flowers’ at Kylin Gallery, USA. Terremoto.mx. November 8, 2020.
Sovereign Intimacies: Exhibition Essay by Nasrin Himada and Jennifer Smith. Plug In
2019 Institute of Contemporary Art in partnership with Gallery 1C03. September 26, 2020.
Solidarity Offerings: Three Approaches to Ecocritical Art – Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and France Los Angeles Exchange (FLAX). Publication.
Artforum Critic’s Picks – Daniel Gerwin. October 7, 2019.
The Occidental – Jenna Fabris – “Oxy Arts kicks off ‘Breaking Bread in L.A.’ with cultural exhibition.” September 17, 2019.
artdaily.org – “Exhibition features 10 contemporary artists exploring material aspects of self.”
e-flux – “John Michael Kohler Arts Center, The Autotopographers.” April 2, 2019.
2018 X-TRA Online – “Anuradha Vikram and Steven Wong: Getting to Here.” February 19, 2019.
AEQAI – Annabel Osberg – “Diverse Artists Navigate Boundaries in ‘Here’ at Los Angeles Municipal Gallery.” December 23, 2018.
CARLA (Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles) – Hana Cohn – “iris yirei hu at the Women’s Center for Creative Work.” May 19, 2018. Print.
2017 ART + CAKE – Lara Salmon – “iris yirei hu: How to Exist through Interwoven Knowledge.” April 22, 2018.
Art Practical – Hyunjee Nicole Kim – “stutter.” October 14, 2017.
2016 Los Angeles Times – Sharon Mizota – “Grief and sacrifice in a dream-like installation in Koreatown.” February 4, 2017.
2015 CNN Money – Octavio Blanco – “Daughter of immigrants challenges the American Dream.” May 5, 2016.
2014 KCET Artbound – Carren Jao – “Con/Safos: Rafa Esparza’s Outdoor Art Space.” March 4, 2015.
2013 Young Cloud – Emily Anne Kuriyama – “David Bell and Iris Yirei Hu: The Floor and the Cane.” August 28, 2014.
KCHUNG: Rose Rose Violet – Lilly Estenson interviews baumtest. June 21, 2014.
Notes on Looking – Geoff Tuck – “Where Do People Live Who Never Die.” July 19, 2013.