ConSortiUm presents the conversation “Shaun Leonardo: From Seeing to Witnessing”

February 10, 2021
Melanie Crean, Shaun Leonardo, Sable Elyse Smith, Mirror/Echo/Tilt, 2019. Production still. Digital photography. Variable Dimensions. Photography by Melanie Crean. Courtesy of the artists.

Visiting artist Shaun Leonardo will discuss his multi-disciplinary work, which interrogates societal expectations of masculinity, namely definitions surrounding black and brown masculinities. Speaking to his most recent body of work in The Breath of Empty Space, he will describe the physical and psychosocial negative space that is activated when viewers fill in the blanks, reframe details, and remix narratives based on both personal experience and perceptions ingrained by media and cultural biases. The artist will also describe his investment in performance as a process of embodiment—exploring the ways in which memory and trauma are lodged within our bodies.

Shaun Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, is a recipient of support from Creative Capital, Guggenheim Social Practice, Art for Justice and A Blade of Grass, and was recently profiled in the New York Times. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim Museum, the High Line, and New Museum, with a solo exhibition, The Breath of Empty Space, currently at MASS MoCA, then traveling to The Bronx Museum in 2021.

Shaun Leonardo’s conversation is part of PLATFORM from ConSortiUm, a collaborative project of art museums and galleries across the California State University (CSU) system. This virtual event series, which began in fall of 2020, actively engages universities and communities through visual arts-based dialogue.

Conversation #4 of the PLATFORM series, “Shaun Leonardo: From Seeing to Witnessing”, is being hosted by the San Diego State, San Jose State, and Sacramento State University museums and galleries.

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