Graduate Fine Arts

Michelle Lopez

Assistant Professor, Sculpture

Michelle Lopez is a multimedia artist, known for her rigorous conceptual practice and boldly experimental approach to processes and material. Her installations and sculptural works are grounded in research on the iconography of cultural phenomena. Lopez riffs off of our relationship to “products” by combining forms of Capitalism with contradictory materials, such as her leather-covered car, Boy. Lopez examines historical forms by building abject structures out of minimal debris. Her crumpled aluminum and stainless steel work, Blue Angels, exemplifies a technological failure while also considering the performative element of the artist’s body via sculpture. Her sound and kinetic installation, Halyard, is a further iteration of examining invisible structures of power in relation to Western Empire.

Most recently Lopez has looked at the phenomenon of violence through structures of silence and disappearance. Her series of silver-nitrate pours onto large-scale, UV-treated, architectural glass, “Smoke Clouds”capture the “wisp of smoke after destruction” as an elegiac sculptural form, and as a mirror to reflect the viewer’s image.

Lopez’s work has been exhibited in institutions with solo exhibitions at Fondazione Trussardi (Milan), LA><Art (Los Angeles), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (CT), ALT Foundation(Istanbul). She has had solo exhibitions at galleries such as Feature Inc. (NY), Deitch Projects (NY), Simon Preston Gallery (NY), Galerie Gaillard (Paris), and Paule Anglim (SF). She has done public projects with The Public Art Fund (NY), and “Art Public” in collaboration with the Bass Museum of Art (Miami), and has  been in group exhibitions at PS1/MOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco). Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, the New Yorker, Art in America, Frieze, The New York Times. She has received New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Grants: a Sculpture Fellowship(2011), a 9/11 Support grant (2002), and a Fiscal Sponsorship(2009); and faculty research grants through UC Berkeley (2002-05).

Michelle Lopez has taught at Yale School of Art in the Sculpture Department, Columbia, NYU, the School of Visual Arts, and Bard in their graduate and undergraduate programs. She has also taught at UC Berkeley, where she headed the sculpture division and conducted sculptural research on large-scale 3D rapid-prototyping. She holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and a BA in Literature and Art History from Barnard.

  • Michelle Lopez, Blue Angel II, 2013, stainless steel, powder-coated aluminum, and rivets, 36 x 6 x 7 ft.;  installation view, Bass Museum, Miami

  • Michelle Lopez, Halyard, 2014, aluminum flag pole, rope, steel cleat, six channel stereo sound, 8 in. x 16 ft.; installation view, Alt, Istanbul

  • Michelle Lopez, Smoke Cloud II (diptych), 2014, tempered architectural glass, ultraviolet light, tin, silver nitrate, varnish, wood, 88 x 120 in.; installation view, Simon Preston Gallery, New York