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An Alternative Art World

Presented by Nato Thompson

Date & Time:

Saturday, April 23, 2022
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM


An Alternative Art World: a lecture examining how the art world has changed in the digital and zoom-era featuring Stacey Goodman, Sasha Stiles, Zeph Fishyn, Mario Y’barra Jr. and moderated by Nato Thompson.


Mario Ybarra, Jr. creates sculptures, installations, photographs, and activist interventions as a means of examining various components of Mexican-American identity. His aesthetic often combines street culture iconography with historical and political imagery, such as in Brown and Proud (2006), which depicts Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata in a large-scale work that merges graffiti art with a style recalling the work of muralist Diego Rivera. Ybarra also draws from quintessentially American imagery and popular culture, such as in Scarface Museum(2007), which features paraphernalia from the famous 1983 film Scarface (about a drug cartel kingpin during the 1980s cocaine boom) displayed in a glass vitrine as a memorial to one of the artist’s late friends.

Nato Thompson is an author, curator, and what he describes as “cultural infrastructure builder”. He has worked as Artistic Director at Philadelphia Contemporary, Philadelphia Contemporary, and Creative Time as Artistic Director and as Curator at MASS MoCA. Thompson organized major Creative Time projects including The Creative Time Summit (2009–2015), Pedro Reyes’ Doomocracy (2016), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), among others. He has written two books of cultural criticism, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century (2015) and Culture as Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life (2017).

Stacey Goodman is a teaching artist living in the Bay Area. In addition to teaching new media and filmmaking, his teaching practice focuses on bringing contemporary and socially engaged art into the classroom. Stacey currently teaches 9-12 grade at the Athenian School in Danville, California.

Sasha Stiles is a first-generation Kalmyk-American poet, artist and AI researcher probing the intersection of text and technology. Her cross-media work — which has been honored in the Future Art Awards, nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art, Miami Art Week, SXSW, New York Fashion Week and Virtual Times Square, and published as NFTs — seeks to decipher the hidden language of the dawning Novacene, fusing elements of semiotics, translation, computer science, speculative design, visual poetry and conceptual art.

Stiles’ hybrid poetry and artwork has been widely exhibited in both analog and virtual realms and recognized by creative visionaries from Ray Kurzweil to Judy Chicago. She has been invited to speak at TED, SXSW, Miami Art Week & Art Basel, Parsons The New School, NFT.NYC, the Ai4 Summit, Binghamton University Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art, and elsewhere.

Zeph Fishlyn (pronouns they/them) is a Canadian-born, SF Bay Area-based interdisciplinary artist, educator, and cultural organizer. Zeph’s participatory projects, drawings, objects and interventions cultivate social and ideological mutations in urgent times. Zeph is a serial collaborator with groups taking creative action on economic justice and climate change— including the End of Isolation Tour, the Beehive Design Collective, Greenpeace, the Center for Artistic Activism, and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. Zeph’s work and projects have appeared at BAMPFA, Manifesta, MassArt, SOMArts, American University Museum, Five Oaks Museum, the Village Building Convergence, a freeway underpass, an off-duty train tunnel, and a variety of smaller venues and public spaces around the US and beyond.