Arts & Lectures
MON, FEB 11, 2019

A Conversation with Pussy Riot Founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, Shepard Fairey, Catherine Opie and Tavares Strachan
Moderated by Jonathan T.D. Neil

ARTISTS TALK: Artists, Activism, Agency

Followed by a live performance by Pussy Riot

(Pictured above: Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot)
The Broad Stage - Main Stage


This two-part evening begins with a thought-provoking conversation with Nadya Tolokonnikova, Shepard Fairey, Catherine Opie and Tavares Strachan. These internationally-renowned artists will have a wide-ranging discussion on how they see their work pushing boundaries at a time of great political and social resistance.
The double bill concludes with a not-to-be-missed live performance by the activist performance art collective Pussy Riot.

7:30 PM - On-Stage Talk
9:00 PM - Live Performance by Pussy Riot

*Member pre-sale begins December 13 at noon. Public onsale begins December 14 at noon.

Presented by The Broad Stage and Sotheby's Institute of Art - Los Angeles.

This event is presented in conjunction with Frieze Los Angeles, the contemporary art fair debuting in Los Angeles February 15-17, 2019.

About the Artists

Pussy Riot is the Russian Moscow-based activist art collective known for its provocative and radiant live music performances and actions that they have continued to do since 2011 despite all the dangers coming from Putin's harsh regime.

In 2012 three members of Pussy Riot were arrested for performing a punk-prayer "Virgin Mary, please get rid of Putin" and convicted for two years in labor camps. Other known music and performance pieces by Pussy Riot include "Putin has pissed himself," "Death to prisons, freedom to protest!," "Police state," "Straight outta vagina," "Make America great again," "Refugees in" (a performance in Banksy's Dismaland). In 2018 four members of Pussy Riot made international headlines by running onto a football field during the World Cup final demanding to release all political prisoners.

Pussy Riot's live performance piece is led by its founding member Nadya Tolokonnikova, who served two years in jail, went through hunger strike protesting savage prison conditions and ended up being sent far away to a Siberian penal colony, where she nevertheless managed to maintain her artistic activity, and with her prison punk band, made a tour around Siberian labor camps.

Pussy Riot’s performance on stage is a radical audio-visual live act touching on topics such as gender identity, personal freedom, climate change, transgression and how activism can help us to shape a better world.

Shepard Fairey
was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1989 he created the “Andre the Giant has a Posse” sticker that transformed into the OBEY GIANT art campaign, with imagery that has changed the way people see art and the urban landscape. After 29 years, his work has evolved into an acclaimed body of art, which includes the 2008 “Hope” portrait of Barack Obama, found at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The artist collaborated with Amplifier in 2017 to create the We The People series recognizable during the Women’s Marches and other rallies around the world in defense of national and global social justice issues. Just recently Fairey teamed up with Amplifier again to launch We The Future, a campaign featuring young leaders from social change movements, working to address important issues and get art and supporting education tools into more than 20,000 classrooms.
Fairey’s stickers, guerilla street art presence and almost 90 public murals are recognizable worldwide. His works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and many others.

Catherine Opie was born in Sandusky, Ohio and received her MFA from CalArts in 1988. Opie’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. In 2008, a mid-career survey of her work, entitled, “Catherine Opie: American Photographer,” was on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Her photographs include series of portraits and American urban landscapes, ranging in format from large-scale color works to smaller black and white prints.  Moving from the territory of the body to the framework of the city, Opie's various photographic series are linked together by a conceptual framework of cultural portraiture. 

Opie was a recipient of The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Medal in 2016, The Julius Shulman Excellence in Photography award in 2013 and a United States Artists Fellowship in 2006. She recently debuted her first film, The Modernist, at Regen Projects, Los Angeles, in January 2018. Opie lives and works in Los Angeles and is a Professor of Photography at UCLA.

Tavares Strachan was born in 1979 in Nassau, Bahamas, and currently lives and works between New York City and Nassau, Bahamas. He received a BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 and an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 2006. Strachan’s ambitious and open-ended practice examines the intersection of art, science, and the environment, and has included collaborations with numerous organizations and institutions across the disciplines.

One of Strachan’s most iconic projects was, The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want, 2006, for which he embarked on a journey to the Alaskan Arctic to excavate a 4.5-ton block of ice which was then transported via FedEx to his native Bahamas and displayed in a solar-powered freezer in the courtyard of his childhood elementary school. The piece is both physically arresting and metaphorically resonant, referencing the fragility of Earth’s homeostatic systems, the strange poetry of cultural and physical displacement, as well as the little-known contributions of Matthew Henson—an under-recognized American explorer and the co-discoverer of the North Pole.

Strachan was recently appointed to the MIT List Visual Arts Center Advisory Committee as well as the RISD Board of Trustees. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including the 2018 Frontier Art Prize, 2014 LACMA Art + Technology Lab Artist Grant, 2008 Tiffany Foundation Grant, 2007 Grand Arts Residency Fellowship, and 2006 Alice B. Kimball Fellowship. He is currently the Allen Institute’s inaugural artist-in-residence.

Image of Nadya Tolokonnikova courtesy of Pussy Riot, by Sasha Sofeev.
Image of Shepard Fairey courtesy of Obey Giant Art.
Image of Catherine Opie (c)Catherine Opie Studio.
Image of Tavares Strachan courtesy of the artist, photo by Brooke DiDonato.


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