Announcement of 2013 Makers Muse Recipients

Aug 13, 2013

• Nao Bustamante • Cohdi Harrell • Trevor Paglen • Dread Scott •

Lorna Simpson • Erika Wanenmacher • Juice Rap News •

Hanging weightlessly from ceilings; casting spells and crafting sculptures; capturing the remote identifiers of war; burning money; rapping reportage on tendentious issues with hilarity and accuracy; taking traditional notions of culture and identity by the horns and hair; brazen stage performance and cheeky video making—these are just some of the fierce sparks of skill and talent that this year’s Makers Muse Recipients have in their pockets.

It’s our five-year anniversary for the Makers Muse Award. Half a decade and twenty-nine recipients later we could not be more proud and excited to share with you our awardees for 2013.

This group of seven is our most cross-disciplinary crew yet. Hailing from various fields, they typify the feisty spirit of this award. Each artist on this list breaks boundaries with tenacity and grace. They all show us what it can mean to be a Maker and they’ve got us on the edge of our seats.

Nao Bustamante is an internationally known artist, originally from California; she now resides in upstate New York. Bustamante’s precarious work encompasses performance art, video installation, 2d, filmmaking, and writing. Bustamante has presented in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites all around the world, including: the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the New York Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sundance International Film Festival, Outfest International Film Festival, El Museo del Barrio and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. In 2001 she received the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman fellowship and in 2007 named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, as well as a Lambent Fellow. In 2010 she was an unlikely contestant on TV network, Bravo’s “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist.” Bustamante is an alum of the San Francisco Art Institute, New Genres program and the Skowhegen School of Painting and Sculpture. Currently she holds the position of Associate Professor of New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Cohdi Harrell is a New Mexico born acrobatic performance artist. A primarily self-taught trapeze artist and an un-trained dancer, his unique approach to acrobatics and performance-making comes from over 12 years of research through improvisation and studying with select coaches internationally. His work has been hailed as “vital to the evolution of contemporary circus in America.” For 7 years, he worked as the artistic director of RICOCHET, a DIY circus of two, whose theatrical circus shows toured the USA nonstop to sold out theatres and standing ovations. He has worked along side Brian Mayhall, Rio en Medio and CocoRosie. Now working as a soloist, “theOTHER” is his first full evening length solo show. In addition to his performance work, Cohdi teaches acrobatics and improvisation master classes across the USA and Europe to professionals and runs a social circus program, “Circus Across Cultures,” with children in India.

Trevor Paglen’s work blurs boundaries to construct unfamiliar ways to see and interpret the world around us. His interests include future warfare, state secrecy, experimental geography, anthropogeomorphology, deep-time, and cave art. He spends more time thinking about modernist painting than he would like to admit.

Trevor Paglen lives and works in New York.

Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. He first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received a B.F.A. This work was denounced by President G.H.W. Bush and outlawed by Congress. His art has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and at the Pori Art Museum in Finland. In 2012, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) presented his performance “Dread Scott: Decision.” He is a recipient of a Creative Capital Foundation grant and Fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum and the Arkon Art Museum. He works in a range of media including installation, photography, video and performance.

Lorna Simpson was born in 1960 in Brooklyn, and received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and her MFA from the University of California, San Diego. When Simpson graduated from San Diego in 1985, she was already considered a pioneer of conceptual photography for her large-scale works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory. With the African-American woman as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships and experiences of contemporary multi-racial America.

Recently, she turned to moving images – in film and video works. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.


Born in the mid-fifties in suburban Ohio, and raised to be an artist (children’s art classes at the Cleveland Art Institute and alternative art high school), Erika attended Kansas City Art Institute and the Feminist Studio Workshop in Los Angeles before settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico (whose landscape she had dreamed), and she has lived and worked there for over 35 years. Erika is currently a part of Meow Wolf, who built the installation House of Eternal Return.

Juice Rap News – the online comedy rap current affairs phenomenon that rhymes the News with true views to restore your faith in the Fourth Estate.

A fusion of biting satire, rigorous academic research, anarchic home-made costuming, and deftly-performed rap rhyming, Juice Rap News is a cult success story of the interwebs which quickly garnered a loyal online following, racking up over 12 million views over 30 episodes, and featuring cameos with icons and influential figures such as Julian Assange, Noam Chomsky, Normal Finkelstein and Senator Scott Ludlam.

The hard-hitting and hilarious news show broadcasts free on YouTube and is created by Giordano Nanni and Hugo Farrant, who combine their skills of philosophy, historical perspective, comedy and rap together into a unique and addictive brew. The team are now working on Season 4 of the series, and are looking forward to opening more people’s eyes to the truth of the show’s slogan: History Is Happening.