Artist and ACT Professor Renée Green has been awarded the Lida A. Orzeck ’68 Distinguished Artist-in-Residence for 2023 by Barnard College. Recognized for her densely layered, multifaceted artworks, which include multimedia installations, films, sound-based works, and photography, Green began her one-year residency with an exhibition of recent works at the Barnard Library in the Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning in New York City.
Since 2007, Green has been producing Space Poems, a celebrated series of suspended banner installations, visually animated as the perceiver “reads” and extracts meaning from combined sign and symbol systems, while moving through space.
Space Poem #8.1 (Vide ma tête) (2022-2023), a self-reflective artwork considering the life and trajectory of an artist, consists of 33 double-sided colorful banners hanging from the library’s atrium. Written by Green, the phrases and statements woven through the banners provide a complex set of relations between art and life, referencing the radical aspirations of an earlier generation of artists, political activists, cultural producers, and poets, while reflecting on how these aspirations persist and are transformed in the present.
Complementing Space Poem #8.1, Green presents two smaller sets of banner works, interspersed throughout the library’s atrium spaces. Continuing the artist’s interest in portable memorials, What Time Is It? (GLB) (2022) presents an ever-pressing question from philosopher and political activist Grace Lee Boggs’ 35, a Barnard alumna, while Every Single Person (LW) (2022) brings forth an existential statement uttered by conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner.
Finally, a single-banner work, Vide ma tête (2022), offers a diagrammatic drawing tracing a variety of pedagogical processes and tropes common in the formation of an artist. A prolific publisher herself, Green condenses and complements these with a concise statement: “All books can open.”
Functioning as space-demarcating works, Green’s Space Poems continue the artist’s engagement with language, knowledge transmission, and recuperation; complex histories, color, perceptual movement, and split attention, in conjunction with the architectural design of the Library by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, making the Barnard Library an ideal site for Green’s aesthetic forms and thoughts.
In March 2015, Lida Orzeck, Ph.D., endowed the Lida A. Orzeck ’68 Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Fund with a substantial gift, offered to artists working in the fields of visual art, architecture, dance, music, and theater. Green is Barnard’s fifth Orzeck Artist-in-Residence, following dance, choreography, and film legend Yvonne Rainer.
Besides the installation of her work at Barnard Library, Green has started to participate in the academic and intellectual life of the College. During this Spring semester, she’s presented her work in Rosalyn Deutsche’s class Feminism and Postmodernism in the Visual Arts: “The 1970s and 1980s” and Elizabeth Hutchinson’s class American Monument Cultures.
During the Fall, Green will continue her engagement as Orzeck ’68 Distinguished Artist-in-Residence by offering a seminar/workshop in relation to her practice, and her work will also be featured in a series of upcoming public programs and film screenings.
*Those who do not hold a Barnard or Columbia University ID and wish to visit Green’s installation in the Barnard Library at the Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning should email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to request access.