At a California court in 2013, an artist had their name legally changed to American Artist. It was a bid, they have said, to attain ‘anonymity in virtual spaces where “American Artist” is an anonymous name, unable to be googled’. It was also an effort to redefine the term ‘American artist’, which calls to mind a canon dominated by white men, by attaching it to works that explore contemporary Black experience in the United States. Working across video, installation, sculpture and new media, American Artist explores the slipperiness of identity in the digital era, and makes connections between the discrimination that Black people in the United States face in public and the racial biases that are built in to new technologies. One component of their solo show at the Queens Museum in 2020 (‘My Blue Window’) was a video installation and app that gave visitors information on internet surveillance and predictive policing practices. Their work has also been displayed at the Whitney, MoMA PS1 and the Studio Museum in New York, and MoCA Chicago. They are one of this year’s LACMA Art + Tech Lab grant recipients.
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